The recent Vatican summit on The Protection of Minors in the Church was an opportunity for Pope Francis and other Church leaders from around the world to talk about measures to increase awareness, responsibility and transparency in dealing with clergy abuse.
Archbishop Robert J. Carlson and other archdiocesan leaders recently sat down with the St. Louis Review for a wide-ranging, on-camera interview in which the archbishop answered questions about the summit as well as measures the Archdiocese of St. Louis has taken to address clergy abuse.
Describing the courage of victims who spoke in Rome, Archbishop Carlson said the Vatican summit was a call for further clarity in moving forward on this crisis in the Church. “It was a good beginning,” he said. “But at the same time we know people are expecting more than that. It seems to me that we have to talk about how lay people are going to be involved, we have to talk about who is going to make sure that bishops are accountable — those kinds of things are going to help us a great deal. We as a Church know that we have done some things, but we have to do more.”
Archbishop Carlson joined Auxiliary Bishop Mark S. Rivituso and Sandra Price, executive director of the archdiocesan Office of Child and Youth Protection, in discussing steps being taken in the archdiocese to address cases of abuse by clergy, as well as efforts to be more transparent. They spoke about topics including the Missouri Attorney General’s review of files related to abuse in the archdiocese, the anticipated release of names of clergy who have abused others, and how the laity can have a larger role in the work of the local Church in preventing abuse. Archbishop Carlson also addressed human formation of seminarians at Kenrick-Glennon.
“The Church can be an instrument of healing and help to so many,” Bishop Rivituso said. “The Lord is asking us to walk with people who are hurting, who are afflicted, who are suffering” and to find healing, hope, and once again have trust in the Church.
“For good or for bad, this is a crisis that confronts the Church now,” Archbishop Carlson said. Turning first to the Lord in prayer is the only way we can respond, he added. “My role today is to reach out to anyone who is hurting and see how I can help. Hopefully the ones who reach out to me, I’ll be effective in helping them reach their own full potential as children of God.”