ST. FRANCIS – On Sunday, Dec. 27, the Feast of the Holy Family, Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki posted to the Archdiocese of Milwaukee’s website a letter of apology to survivors of clergy sexual abuse.
Issuing a letter of apology was part of the archdiocese’s plan of reorganization Chief Judge Susan V. Kelley of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin approved Nov. 9, 2015, and which ended the archdiocese’s nearly five years in bankruptcy.
“Every man and woman has their own story of their abuse and I cannot and will not ever assume to know the degree of pain and anguish you have suffered these many years,” the archbishop wrote. “I am sad that sexual abuse is part of your story. It’s not right and it’s not fair. I wish I could change it. These perpetrators committed crimes and sins that took from you something that can never be replaced and I am so very sorry.”
Archbishop Listecki noted that during his priesthood, he could not imagine what “some individuals, using the power and authority of their collar, would do to manipulate children.” He added the anger, shock, sadness and embarrassment caused by those actions “will remain with me for the rest of my life.”
Acknowledging that the institutional church was part of the abuse, the archbishop continued, “Whether directly or indirectly; whether willingly or out of ignorance; the church was wrong. No reasoning, explanation or rationalization can change the history of your suffering.”
Archbishop Listecki wrote that he would continue to pray for healing and resolution between abuse survivors and the church, “knowing for some that has already happened and for others that may seem impossible.”
He concluded, “… please know that my door and the doors of our parishes and the hearts of our priests are at your service to effect reconciliation whenever the moment might be appropriate.”
The letter is posted at http://tinyurl.com/zm2l2v5