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Not once, never once.

I apologize for interrupting the series of the precepts of the Church. This weekend all of the priests are addressing the abuse and scandal brought on by Cardinal McCarrick so many years ago and the news of the defrocked priest who was recently volunteering in our diocese.

Child abuse, elderly abuse, mental deficiency abuse, and all sexual abuse is wrong...sinful...and indefensible. This abuse creates wounds of immense damage with profound and long-lasting effects. If anyone feels temptations towards this sinful and devastating path, please seek help before doing something truly awful.

When the first scandal broke in the early 2000s, I do not remember many priests sharing their feelings; I think they were scared that maybe they’d be thrown into a witch hunt or lumped together...or maybe they just couldn’t put into words what they were feeling. As we saw less than two weeks ago with the attack on the innocent Byzantine priest in the sacristy, this scandal is affecting not only those who are guilty but also those who, as with the vast majority of priests, are innocent. I, for one, am hurt and upset by every guilty priest/bishop/cardinal, who has used his position and influence to propagate these abuses; given care over the flock as shepherds, how could any one use that charge to gravely wound the sheep in his care? It is sickening and offensive to the very heart of justice. That is certainly why we priests stand with our Archbishop and his continual efforts to root out this evil from not only the Church but our entire society; besides the legal obligation (punishable by law), we all have a moral obligation to ensure protection and vigilance, especially for the vulnerable, against the destructive depravity.

If there is an incident or suspicion of sexual abuse of a minor, all individuals must report to civil authorities: 800-522-3511. If the minor is in immediate danger, call 911. ALWAYS contact the civil authorities FIRST; this goes for church, school, shopping, sporting events, even family events...anytime. In addition, if the accusation is against any church personnel, you can call SECOND the Archdiocese to make sure any guilty person does not have access to minors again (405-720-9878).

This abuse must never, not even once, never happen.

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