WASHINGTON, DC – His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Archbishop for the Military Services, USA, has issued the following statement in response to the allegations against Archbishop Theodore McCarrick and the Pennsylvania grand jury report:
Dear Faithful of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA,
Last weekend the AMS held a family retreat for those stationed in Europe at a naturally beautiful location, aptly named Schönstatt. It was my first occasion to be with a substantial group of the AMS faithful since the dreadful news of alleged sins of Archbishop McCarrick became known, along with the release of the Grand Jury report in Pennsylvania.
It seemed necessary to invite them to pray for the victims of those who violated their trust and marred them for a life-time. I also felt compelled to express my shame for the mistakes that we, the Bishops of the US have made in the past. As Pope Francis said in his letter to the People of God: “The pain of the victims and their families is also our pain, and so it is urgent that we once more reaffirm our commitment to ensure the protection of minors and of vulnerable adults.”
While I hesitate to make one more statement in the face of so many made by my brother bishops, perhaps it is good that you read something from the “pen” of your own chief Shepherd. I write with the vision of those happy families gathered in prayer and dialogue in Germany and give thanks for their witness.
I know nothing more than you do about what took place in the past. From 1979 to 2008 I lived outside of the United States. However, if what has been published is true, I can only express my deep sorrow for the lives of those who have been so wounded by men in whom they should have been able to trust completely. I am reminded of the harsh words of the Lord Jesus about those who scandalize little ones.
Let me also assure you that in the more than ten years that I have been your archbishop, I have referred both historic and the few current cases of possible abuse of minors to the AMS review board composed of an attorney, a priest-psychologist, two retired military officers, and a teacher, the wife of a retired active-duty officer. Both the Victim Assistance Coordinator and the Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia assist at the meetings. The guidelines for the Review Board have been up-dated annually and promulgated by me. You can find them on the AMS website. I have always followed the recommendations of the Review Board.
Military and civil authorities have been appropriately advised when the AMS learns about the sexual abuse of a minor or a vulnerable adult.
It is my belief that the same procedures have been in effect since the mandate to have review boards with the promulgation of the Charter for the Protection of Young People. However, even earlier the AMS referred cases brought to her attention to the same appropriate authorities.
If anyone believes that he or she, when a minor, has been sexually abused or victimized by a cleric with AMS faculties, please contact Dr. Eileen Dombo, Ph.D, LICSW, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Priests, chaplain candidates, deacons, and co-sponsored seminarians all have child- protection training and have all submitted to background checks. No one has been endorsed without a letter of good standing from the incardinating bishop or religious superior. They are diligent in their service of the people entrusted to the pastoral care of the AMS.
As we move forward, I beg your continued prayers for the victims, for renewed fidelity on the part of all of us entrusted with ministry to children and young people, and for a spirit of reconciliation. As Pope Francis has pointed out, all of the living stones that form the Church must keep those of us in leadership, especially the bishops, attentive and faithful in our commitment to serve. “May the Holy Spirit grant us the grace of conversion and the interior anointing needed to express before these crimes of abuse our compunction and our resolve courageously to combat them.”
Invoking abundant divine blessings upon all of you, I remain
Sincerely in Christ,
The Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio
Archbishop for the Military Services, USA