Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The Lord assures us that “the truth will set us free” (Jn 8:32).
For too long, the Catholic Church and all the faithful have been deeply hurt by the actions of those who committed horrific acts of abuse and those who mishandled cries for help from victim-survivors. These crimes lay shielded in darkness, sometimes for decades. By the grace of God and through the brave actions of victim-survivors, that darkness has been flooded with the light of Christ. It is only by facing this truth – that abuse occurred and some in Church leadership failed to address it properly – that our Church can truly repent of past wrongs and accompany victim-survivors toward healing.
To victim-survivors: I recognize that you have been grievously wounded by those who should have been leading you closer to Christ. It is through meeting with you, talking with you and praying with you that my eyes are opened to the life-altering wounds you suffer. On behalf of our local Church, I am sorry that you were forced to endure such horrific, sinful and criminal actions, and I regret that some of you were not immediately heard, believed and accompanied toward healing.
We in the Archdiocese of Detroit have redoubled the critical work of examining these failures and walking the path of change. I say this with clarity: Sexual abuse of any kind is not and will not be tolerated here. Sexual abuse of a child or vulnerable adult, and the covering up of such sinful and criminal behavior, has no place in our parishes, schools and communities. These behaviors, when discovered, are rooted out and rejected.
We offer here, on the website protect.aod.org, an accounting of what we have done and what we are doing in the Archdiocese of Detroit to confront past abuse and to eradicate these crimes from our midst. We offer these resources with the hope of healing, in response to questions from the community, and as part of our commitment to transparency.
I humbly ask all the faithful to assist in our shared resolution to prevent these abuses from ever happening again. Immediately report any suspicion of abuse or other misconduct to law enforcement, as well as to the Archdiocese, so that together we may seek truth, ensure safety and facilitate healing. Beyond changes in policies, processes and culture, I pray also for a change in spirit. Let us ask Jesus Christ to send his Holy Spirit to replace wounded hearts with true healing and peace. It is with this firm commitment – to action and to faith – that we may overcome this hour of darkness and make the local Church a truly welcoming and safe environment for all who seek the truth and fullness of our faith.
With assurances of my prayers to St. Anne and to Blessed Solanus that you may find solace in the Risen Lord, I remain,
Sincerely yours in Christ,
The Most Reverend Allen H. Vigneron
Archbishop of Detroit
Individuals with knowledge of sexual abuse by clergy or other Church representatives are urged to contact local law enforcement and/or the Michigan Attorney General’s Office at (844) 324-3374 or email@example.com. Individuals also may contact the Archdiocese of Detroit by visiting protect.aod.org, calling the toll-free, 24/7 victim assistance line at (866) 343-8055 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. There are no time limits or restrictions on individuals wishing to report abuse.
For more information on the Archdiocese of Detroit’s commitment to protecting children and vulnerable adults, preventing abuse and accompanying victim-survivors toward healing, please visit protect.aod.org.