The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston is among the 15 Catholic dioceses in Texas which have decided to release names of clergy credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor, going back at least to 1950 to present.
At a recent meeting in Austin, the Texas bishops agreed on jointly releasing the names, as part of ongoing work to protect children from sexual abuse and promote healing and a restoration of trust in the Church.
“This is an action in response to the faithful’s call for greater accountability and transparency,” said Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston. “Every bishop in our state has made a statement expressing his concern for all who have been hurt and I want to express my personal sorrow at such fundamental violations of trust that have happened. We are completely committed to eradicating the evil of sexual abuse in the church and promoting healing among the faithful and those injured by this crime.”
Although in Rome serving as a delegate at the Synod on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment Oct. 3-28, Cardinal DiNardo recorded a video message to be distributed in conjunction with the media release. (see video above)
With 8.5 million Catholics and 1,320 Catholic parishes in Texas, the endeavor to compile a comprehensive list of clergy who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor represents a major project. All dioceses will publish their lists by Jan. 31, 2019.
The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston is engaging an outside consultant to conduct an independent review of its files and records so that the list will be as accurate and complete as possible.
“It will take some time for files to be reviewed, and there may be people who come forward with new information following this announcement. My brother bishops in Texas and I agree that transparency in this painful matter of sexual abuse can assist with healing for survivors and transformation for our Church,” explained Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, MSpS, of San Antonio.
The release of names of clergy credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor is part of an ongoing effort by the dioceses to provide an even safer environment for children. These lists will be updated as new information becomes available. Each bishop will be releasing his own statement and list.
Since the 2002 Dallas Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People was adopted by U.S. bishops, Archbishop García-Siller said “the story has changed.” He noted the drastic decrease in cases of abuse due to zero tolerance. In San Antonio, and across the Church, he said he saw a clear improvement in the atmosphere at parishes and schools, with an increased awareness, attention and support for measures from laity and clergy to create safer and healthier communities.
But still, the archbishop said “the efforts will never be enough. [Each] case of abuse is a tragedy.”
The 15 dioceses participating in this project of disclosure are Galveston-Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Amarillo, Beaumont, Brownsville, Corpus Christi, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, Laredo, Lubbock, San Angelo, Tyler and Victoria.