Archbishop Aymond apologizes for clergy abuse, thanks the faithful
NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The Archbishop of New Orleans took to the pulpit to offer an apology to all Catholics and victims of sexual abuse at the hands of the clergy. He also invited victims to a special Mass next week, but some wonder if that's enough.
For weeks, Archbishop Gregory Aymond has offered apologies over the allegations of clergy abuse that keep surfacing.
"As church leaders we have lost the trust, and we want to regain that trust, and we know it will take a long time," said Aymond at Sunday Mass at St. Louis Cathedral.
Although the archbishop says cases of clergy sex abuse have declined since the early 1980s when the worldwide scandal first broke, in the Lafayette diocese, there are still problems. This week a New York city priest said he warned the church that former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick engaged in sex with adult seminarians, and he said those warnings were ignored.
"There will be a full investigation with regard to McCarrick, so it won't happen again. We will find a way where abuse by bishops and cardinals can be reported...quickly," said Aymond.
For many victims, the pain remains for decades. Some would like to see a changing of laws to pursue civil and criminal penalties from abuse that occurred in the 70s and 80s.
"First of all, the statute of limitations needs to be taken out and dismissed. The long-term effects are the worst effects," said one alleged victim, who claims abuse at the hands of former Deacon George Brignac. Brignac was responsible for a $500,000 claim paid by the Archdiocese of New Orleans three months ago.
The archdiocese paid that settlement in a 35-year-old Holy Rosary abuse case in spite of the statute and is currently working to settle other cases.
"If there are other victims out there, I'm willing to meet with you and want you to come forward. I stand open to meet with you and journey with you to healing," said Aymond.
On Sunday at St. Louis Cathedral, the archbishop called for a special Mass next week at St. Joseph Church, and after seemingly endless headlines on clergy abuse, offered of gratitude for the faithful priests and parishioners.
"You know we have a sinful church. You came here, and I thank you," said Aymond.
The archbishop will conduct the special mass for forgiveness and healing on Aug. 28, at St Joseph's Church on Tulane Avenue. The church also says if anyone has been victimized or disillusioned by clergy, they should call the victim assistance hotline. That number is 504 522 5019.
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