Blog post by Mrs. Wilson
The recent publication of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report, which outlined the horrific sexual abuse of minors within the Roman Catholic Church, has rightfully outraged every single one of us. These immoral and calculated acts and the subsequent cover-up and protection of Church leaders is outrageous, infuriating, and heartbreaking. The victims of the abuse will carry with them immeasurable pain and no amount of apologies or money will erase what these children and young people have had to endure.
Like many of you, I am angry. This anger sits in the pit of my stomach, a slow boil of frustration, as I ruminate the pain of young people, inflicted upon them by criminals who groomed and abused them. I feel indignation as I read about the leaders who ignored the warnings and complaints, who sought to protect the shepherds over the flock, and who ultimately sent the lambs to the slaughter.
In June of 2002, the United States Council of Catholic Bishops published its Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. This publication, which has been updated and revised three times since (the most recent in 2018), outlines the responsibility of the Church and those who work with children and youth. This responsibility includes creating and maintaining a safe environment for children, healing for victims and survivors, timely response to allegations, and disciplinary action for offenders.
We need this charter now more than ever. Our care and supervision of our children and youth have never been more important than it is today. While we cannot erase what victims and survivors have been through and currently suffer, we can take the time now to protect those in our care. As such, I am respectfully requesting that all members of our school community, not just our current volunteers and coaches, take the time to participate in what our faculty and staff are trained in each year — Safe and Sacred training. You, as trusted adults, have children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins, friends’ children, and children’s friends you encounter and spend time with each day. If you can take the time to learn more about signs of abuse and how to act on information, then we are proactively taking steps to keep young people safer. Nothing drives out darkness like the light. Let’s shine a light in the lives of our young people to keep them from the darkness of abuse. Click here and follow the steps to create a login, then fill in the fields with your information. You may select your parish or Bishop John A. Marshall School as your institution, as you will likely at some time or another, be a volunteer at our school or in your church (if you aren’t already). It won’t take long, but the impact could be long lasting and a potential lifeline to our most vulnerable population — our children.
I am not suggesting that receiving Safe and Sacred training will solve this issue or that it will make everything okay again. It won’t. However, it’s something we can all do in solidarity to work towards a more unified belief that our children are the most precious gifts bestowed upon us and they deserve our love and protection.
With sincere appreciation for your trust as we continue to care for and educate your children,
Head of School