March 8, 2019 6:32 pm

Regina archdiocese apologizes for clergy sexual abuse

The Archdiocese of Regina issued a formal apology for clergy sex abuse, and is wanting to work with their whole community on a long healing journey.

AP Photo/Gerald Herbert
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The Archdiocese of Regina issued a written apology for instances of clergy sex abuse on Ash Wednesday. This comes amid a global focus on abuse in the church.

“Over the past two years, I have had the opportunity to meet with some of you who were hurt deeply by the church, and have learned of the tragic legacy of clergy sexual abuse in our archdiocese,” Regina archbishop Donald Bolen wrote.

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“I have also heard from victims who had come forward, had not been welcomed by church leaders, and who were left to experience more shame, guilt, and a door closed to healing. Many have chosen not to relate their experience to anyone and have buried their secret deep within them.”

READ MORE: Pope Francis launches historic summit with 21 proposals to fight sexual abuse

The apology took time to name sources of abuse, whether it was a parish priest, pastor, member of the community or in Indigenous residential schools.

Pope Francis held a four-day sexual abuse prevention summit in February.

“Listen to the cry of the young, who want justice,” Francis told the gathering of 190 church leaders on Feb. 21.

“The holy people of God are watching and expect not just simple and obvious condemnations, but efficient and concrete measures to be established.”

In his address, Dolen wrote that the entire Catholic community needs to come together to accomplish the healing goal. He also acknowledged past failings to properly deal with abuse concerns, saying the church acted defensively in the past, worrying more about public image than the victims.

READ MORE: Catholic Church abuse: Canada’s dark history and how to move forward

“For the times when the church has slammed the door on you, not wanting to hear your painful truth, not wanting to face the scourge of abuse, we are sorry,” Bolen wrote.

“For our failures in acknowledging our transgressions, for collusion in covering up what happened and for silencing victims, we are sorry. For our misuse of power, and for the clericalism which helped to create a context wherein abuse was allowed to happen and be covered up, we are sorry.”

The archdiocese has a section on their website devoted to handling reports of clergy abuse. The section includes a letter from the Pope calling on the church to better address abuse allegations.

It also includes a video and a written message from Reverend Brad Fahlman, the archdiocese’s delegate for victims of clergy sexual abuse. This job involves filing complaints and helping victims find the supports they need.

Global News in the process of scheduling an interview with Fahlman.

-With files from The Associated Press

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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