August 15, 2018 | United States Conference of Catholic Bishops address “Moral Catastrophe”
President of U.S. Bishops’ Conference Announces Effort That Will Involve Laity, Experts, and the Vatican stating, “Let me ask you to hold us to all of these resolutions,” as U.S. Bishops’ Offer Firm Resolve to Address “Moral Catastrophe”
August 16, 2018
WASHINGTON— Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has issued the following statement after a series of meetings with members of the USCCB’s Executive Committee and other bishops. The following statement includes three goals and three principles, along with initial steps of a plan that will involve laity, experts, and the Vatican. A more developed plan will be presented to the full body of bishops at their general assembly meeting in Baltimore in November.
Cardinal DiNardo’s full statement follows:
“Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Two weeks ago, I shared with you my sadness, anger, and shame over the recent revelations concerning Archbishop Theodore McCarrick. Those sentiments continue and are deepened in light of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report. We are faced with a spiritual crisis that requires not only spiritual conversion, but practical changes to avoid repeating the sins and failures of the past that are so evident in the recent report. Earlier this week, the USCCB Executive Committee met again and established an outline of these necessary changes.
The Executive Committee has established three goals: (1) an investigation into the questions surrounding Archbishop McCarrick; (2) an opening of new and confidential channels for reporting complaints against bishops; and (3) advocacy for more effective resolution of future complaints. These goals will be pursued according to three criteria: proper independence, sufficient authority, and substantial leadership by laity.
We have already begun to develop a concrete plan for accomplishing these goals, relying upon consultation with experts, laity, and clergy, as well as the Vatican. We will present this plan to the full body of bishops in our November meeting. In addition, I will travel to Rome to present these goals and criteria to the Holy See, and to urge further concrete steps based on them.
The overarching goal in all of this is stronger protections against predators in the Church and anyone who would conceal them, protections that will hold bishops to the highest standards of transparency and accountability.
Allow me to briefly elaborate on the goals and criteria that we have identified.
The first goal is a full investigation of questions surrounding Archbishop McCarrick. These answers are necessary to prevent a recurrence, and so help to protect minors, seminarians, and others who are vulnerable in the future. We will therefore invite the Vatican to conduct an Apostolic Visitation to address these questions, in concert with a group of predominantly lay people identified for their expertise by members of the National Review Board and empowered to act.
The second goal is to make reporting of abuse and misconduct by bishops easier. Our 2002 “Statement of Episcopal Commitment” does not make clear what avenue victims themselves should follow in reporting abuse or other sexual misconduct by bishops. We need to update this document. We also need to develop and widely promote reliable third-party reporting mechanisms. Such tools already exist in many dioceses and in the public sector and we are already examining specific options.
The third goal is to advocate for better procedures to resolve complaints against bishops. For example, the canonical procedures that follow a complaint will be studied with an eye toward concrete proposals to make them more prompt, fair, and transparent and to specify what constraints may be imposed on bishops at each stage of that process.
We will pursue these goals according to three criteria.
The first criterion is genuine independence. Any mechanism for addressing any complaint against a bishop must be free from bias or undue influence by a bishop. Our structures must preclude bishops from deterring complaints against them, from hampering their investigation, or from skewing their resolution.
The second criterion relates to authority in the Church. Because only the Pope has authority to discipline or remove bishops, we will assure that our measures will both respect that authority and protect the vulnerable from the abuse of ecclesial power.
Our third criterion is substantial involvement of the laity. Lay people bring expertise in areas of investigation, law enforcement, psychology, and other relevant disciplines, and their presence reinforces our commitment to the first criterion of independence.
Finally, I apologize and humbly ask your forgiveness for what my brother bishops and I have done and failed to do. Whatever the details may turn out to be regarding Archbishop McCarrick or the many abuses in Pennsylvania (or anywhere else), we already know that one root cause is the failure of episcopal leadership. The result was that scores of beloved children of God were abandoned to face an abuse of power alone. This is a moral catastrophe. It is also part of this catastrophe that so many faithful priests who are pursuing holiness and serving with integrity are tainted by this failure.
We firmly resolve, with the help of God’s grace, never to repeat it. I have no illusions about the degree to which trust in the bishops has been damaged by these past sins and failures. It will take work to rebuild that trust. What I have outlined here is only the beginning; other steps will follow. I will keep you informed of our progress toward these goals.
Let me ask you to hold us to all of these resolutions. Let me also ask you to pray for us, that we will take this time to reflect, repent, and recommit ourselves to holiness of life and to conform our lives even more to Christ, the Good Shepherd.”
August 14, 2018 | A Statement from our Bishop in Light of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury’s Report on Clergy Sexual Abuse
These are difficult days to be a Roman Catholic. The allegations regarding Archbishop Theodore McCarrick and now the release of the grand jury report involving six dioceses in Pennsylvania have deepened a wound for Catholics who have been besieged by news of clergy sexual abuse since 2002. It is understandable for many to ask, “What is next?” “What and who can I trust?”
“How did this ever happen?” The People of God are rightfully asking these questions. In these recent days, we have become painfully aware that those meant to shepherd and guide others are sinners not only in the sense that all are fallible but also specifically in the area of sexual abuse of children and young people. They must be held accountable for their actions. Bishops are no exception.
Our focus together should always be the safety and well-being of the human person – especially the vulnerable and the innocent among us. Over the past 15 years, since the crisis broke in 2002, the Diocese of Syracuse has addressed this problem aggressively by reporting all allegations to the appropriate district attorney, ensuring that no priest with a credible allegation of abuse remains in ministry, and preventing acts of abuse through our highly successful Safe Environment Program. There are now nearly 40,000 individuals trained in child sexual abuse prevention as well as criminally background checked. I am grateful to the trained men and women who have worked tirelessly either as members of our Diocesan Review Board or Safe Environment program to ensure that the Diocese of Syracuse has an established and well-monitored set of policies and procedures that will not allow any abuse to ever take place.
Like you, I am deeply troubled by these grievous acts and I must again apologize for the pain and suffering endured by our people. To the victims of clergy sexual abuse decades ago, I know I can never change what has taken place, nor remove the pain or the anger. I will continue to pray fervently for all victims of clergy sexual abuse, to ask those who have been harmed to come forward to report the abuse in order to begin the healing process and remain steadfast in my personal commitment that this horrific chapter in our local church will not happen again.
+ Robert J Cunningham
Diocese of Syracuse
240 East Onondaga Street
Syracuse NY 13202
June 25, 2018 | Franciscan Friar Conventual Statement on Immigration Policy
Read the official Statement here: Statement on Immigration.
June 3, 2018 | Important Message from the Pastor
May 29, 2018 | Assumption is Coming to you!
When we think of church we usually think of a place we go to on Sundays. It’s not often the church comes to us! Well that’s exactly what Adam Eichelberger, our new Director of Evangelization intends to do; bring the church to YOU! Eichelberger, originally from Tucson, AZ has made it his life’s mission to help people fall in love with Jesus. After a career with Apple he moved to youth and young-adult ministry in various parishes, motivational speaking, leadership training and currently assists several parishes in Central New York. The plan is to organize monthly gatherings in a home or coffee shop where there are concentrations of parishioners; in North Syracuse, Liverpool, Solvay or any neighborhoods that want to participate. We’ll gather to reflect on scripture, share our experiences and just as importantly grow in friendship. It’s a way for our parishioners to feed their spirit besides Sunday mass. These gatherings will be open to all parishioners and any guest you may want to bring. We are also excited to announce that Adam will coordinate the implementation of the Alpha program. Alpha is for people who are unchurched, have abandoned the faith or are struggling with what they believe. It involves hosting a series of evenings that include a meal, a video or presentation and then conversation. There are no strings attached. No judgement. No pressure. Alpha has been around since 1990 and has touched the lives of millions of participants in 169 countries and been offered in 112 languages. Adam is uniquely positioned to speak to young adults in Syracuse for whom this will be first encounter with Jesus. He, we, will need to work hard to make this a reality in September 2018. It can be a game-changer for Assumption’s future!
May 18, 2018 | The Annual Diocese of Syracuse HOPE Appeal is Underway
Assumption Church has been assessed just under $27,000. We need your help to meet our goal! Please be as generous as you can. Click here and be sure to make note that you would like your gift to be applied to Assumption’s assessment: https://syracuse.weshareonline.org/ws/opportunities/HopeAppeal
This year we will have donor and recipient testimony given in Church! Be sure to stay tuned for that.
The Hope Appeal Supports: Hospital Chaplains • Catholic TV— Mass for Homebound • Evangelization • Catholic Charities • Catholic Outreach Ministries • Tuition Assistance • Academic Development • Parish Services • Faith Formation • Office of Disabilities • Family Life • Vocations
By meeting our HOPE Appeal assessment we are also able to apply for grant funding through our Diocese.
May 9, 2018 | Please see the statement from the Franciscan Friars: Assumption Cemetery Announcement
Assumption Church is aware of various complaints regarding the cemetery on Court Street. Some of these have been directed to the parish or to the diocese. However, Assumption Cemetery is owned and operated by a Cemetery Corporation of the Franciscan Friars Conventual. The parish has no say over its management. Concerns and questions should be directed to the Cemetery Director, Mrs. Sandy Miller at email@example.com or by telephone 443-583-7644 ext: 151.
Please see the statement from the Franciscan Friars: Assumption Cemetery Announcement