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  • Writer's pictureProfiles in Catholicism

An Open Letter to SurvivorsA Message for All Who Have Experienced Abuse in the Catholic Church

from Catholics of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and Other Supporters

Dear Brothers and Sisters, We are writing as members of the Catholic Church, to offer you an apology. We are deeply sorry for the abuse you experienced in our Church and for the lifelong aftermath of that abuse.

The abuse you endured was horrific and inexcusable. The Church should have been a sanctuary for you; we are so sorry that it was a place of trauma instead. What you suffered wasn’t your fault, and we want to apologize for every time you were blamed for someone else’s sins. We are sorry for any time someone suggested that sharing your story would bring shame or scandal to the Church. We are sorry for the many ways your abuse was ignored, minimized, and covered up by church leaders who should have protected you. We recognize that many of you have been speaking out for decades, and we apologize for all the times that we in the Church didn’t listen, doubted you, or lacked the courage to act. We trusted the wrong people, and we didn’t trust you. We rarely gave you the support you needed and deserved as you seek justice and healing. We offer no justifications or excuses, only our sincere regret for the ways that our actions may have separated you from your spiritual home and deepened your pain. We know that we can’t take away the past, but from this moment forward, we pledge to welcome you, listen to you, pray with you, and work together to create a community that makes space for everyone, especially survivors of abuse. We want to be your partners and fellow advocates in working for justice and healing. We are profoundly sorry that we have failed you. We commit to standing with you now. Sincerely,

Catholics of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and Other Supporters

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