Mandated Letter to Parents from the Archdiocesan Office of Catholic

Mandated Letter to Parents from the Archdiocesan Office of
Catholic Education
At the direction of the Archdiocesan Office of Education, the following
letter is being sent to all parents who have children currently enrolled
in any Parish School or in any Parish PREP program.
Dear Parents and Guardians,
In his pastoral letter dated December 8, 2011 Archbishop Charles J.
Chaput outlined the 2012 calendar year by saying that “We have a
grave and continuing obligation to help victims of clergy sex abuse to
heal; to create Church environments that protect our young people
and to cooperate appropriately with civil authorities in pursuing justice
for both the victims of sexual abuse and those accused.” As you may
know, some of the criminal cases that arose out of the sexual abuse
of minors by priests are currently underway. These cases have been
accompanied by increased media attention. We anticipate that the
media may also increase their coverage when the Archbishop begins
to announce his final decisions on the cases of priests who were
placed on administrative leave in the aftermath of the 2011 Grand
Jury Report. We are sending this letter in an effort to reinforce our
partnership to preserve the protective environment that we foster
here for our children as we all attempt to navigate under the harsh
and unavoidable media coverage.
As we move forward in faith, it is important to tell you that no one at
our parishes or our school can provide you with any information on
the pending criminal trials or the final resolution of the cases of the
priests placed on administrative leave. This is presenting a significant
challenge as we deal with the increased media scrutiny. Not having
answers to questions regarding these matters does not diminish our
commitment to you and your children—doing what is in the children’s
best interest.
We also want to reiterate that we will not be discussing these matters
with your children while they are in school or PREP classes. We will
not initiate any discussion regarding these matters but will attempt to
answer children’s questions as honestly and simply as possible. We
will encourage the children to talk with you, the parent or guardian. In
this partnership, you can count on us to continue to strive to be
models of love and compassion toward all people and encourage
your children to do the same during this challenging time. We will also
continue to implement safe environment educational programs, which
you are familiar with, for all children.
Please remember that you have some control over what your
children see and hear in the media, and not all information that adults
have has to be shared with children. We ask also that you please
respect the rights of other parents and guardians by not discussing
these matters with any children but your own. Each family should
decide how to engage their children in responding to this very public
discussion on sexual abuse, by determining what is appropriate
based on their parenting style and the age and maturity level of the
children. One of the keys to preventing sexual abuse is the
relationship you have with your child, so if you are comfortable doing
so, please encourage your children to talk with you about sexual
abuse. Many issues will be raised during this intense media coverage
and it can be an opportunity to further teach your child about sexual
How well we handle these challenging times will show our children
how much we care for them. If our children see and hear a consistent
response of faith, maturity and compassion guided by our Catholic
identity they can learn a great lesson. It is not easy to admit failures
and ask for forgiveness, but we cannot grow morally and spiritually
unless we do it.
Let us pray for God’s guidance and strength. Let us pray for the
grace to work together to restore peace and harmony in our lives. Let
us pray for each other. All things are possible through Christ.