Topic: For the Public

Major Superiors Address Releasing Names of Religious with Established Allegations

In light of recent public discussion regarding the publishing of names of clergy accused of sexual abuse, the Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM) has issued a letter to the leaders of U.S. institutes of men religious on the topic.

The letter, signed by Dominican Father Mark Padrez, CMSM president, and Capuchin Father John Pavlik, CMSM executive director, noted, “Since 2002, CMSM has sought to encourage best practices of members in the area of child protection.” The letter went on to say that CMSM recognizes each institute must make its own decision, and offered several points to consider in that discernment:

 

  • Revisit this issue with consideration about what disclosure would mean for victims as well as your institute. You may wish to consult civil and canonical counsel.
  • Reach out to and engage with bishops in areas where men who have been accused have served.
  • Be cognizant of CMSM’s Standards of Accreditation and the USCCB’s Essential Norms for Diocesan/Eparchical Policies Dealing with Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priests or Deacon that require that major superiors communicate information regarding allegations of sexual abuse of a minor to the bishops where the abuse occurred and where the men reside.
  • If publishing a list, consult with your canonical and civil counsel in its development. Please note that Praesidium’s Standards of Accreditation distinguish clearly between allegations that have been established and those that have not. An allegation is established when “there is objective certainty that the accusation is true and that an incident of sexual abuse of a minor has occurred.”

CMSM ​has actively worked to support healing and child safety policies since 2002. Its ​child protection efforts include education, a National Advisory Council composed primarily of lay experts, a commitment to prevention and healing, and standards of accreditation for religious institutes developed in partnership with Praesidium.

About CMSM

The Conference of Major Superiors of Men (cmsm.org | @cmsmshares | @cmsmtweets) is the national organization supporting U.S. leaders of Roman Catholic men’s religious institutes, monastic communities, and societies of apostolic life. As the common voice for the leaders of these organizations, CMSM promotes dialogue and collaboration in service to over 16,000 religious priests and brothers in the United States. 

Media contact: Susan Gibbs, 202.525.9554 and sgibbs@cmsm.org

Empathy and Honor for Sexual Assault Survivors

The Senate hearings this week have brought to the forefront the dignity of women.

A statement developed by CMSM notes, “In collaboration with women, we must help to create space so that women are heard, can participate equally, and many more can become leaders. As Jesus lifted up the value of women in his cultural times, we commit to continuing to engage with and for women to build a more just society and culture.”

Executive Director, Fr. John Pavlik, OFM Cap, commented: “While refraining from the politically divided dimensions of a difficult process, hearing the intense pain of a woman deeply wounded in an experience of sexual assault, we must join our collective voices to those who seek not to allow ourselves to pass over this moment which opened the minds and hearts of women and men everywhere to new awareness of the suffering inflicted. The moral imperative of the Holy Scriptures as well as the values of our Constitution ask for nothing less, to say nothing of the pleas from the hearts of parents grieving for their daughters and sons so scathed.”

The statement is here.

US Leaders of Men Religious: Abuse Reports “Devastating”

The Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM) responds to the revelation of abuse allegations in Pennsylvania and elsewhere in recent days:

Recent news out of Pennsylvania, Washington and other places regarding past abuse by clergy and religious is devastating to us, the major superiors of men religious in the United States, because these actions harmed innocent young people, and betrayed the mission and person of Christ.

We wish to stand in solidarity with those who were abused. For the men and women who have been harmed, we offer you our support. We renew our personal and organizational commitment to do all that we can to keep young people in our own ministries safe now and into the future.

We also stand with the faithful who are feeling a deep loss of trust resulting from the revelations and the scale of the reports covering the past 70 years.  We share in this pain.

We affirm our commitment to the protection of young people, to creating safe environments where young people are able to flourish as children of God and people of faith.

We pledge to continue to implement child safety education, background checks, reporting, and external reviews of our child protection efforts, as we have for the past 16 years. To this end, we will continue to collaborate with other organizations on implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Young People and to be vigilant in the screening and formation of applicants for the priesthood and religious life.

We recognize a need for all of us to use the power entrusted to us because of our ministry for good. We pray in sorrow for our sins.

The Conference of Major Superiors of Men (cmsm.org | @cmsmshares | @cmsmtweets) is the national organization for U.S. leaders of Roman Catholic men’s religious institutes, monastic communities, and societies of apostolic life. As the common voice for the leaders of these organizations, CMSM promotes dialogue and collaboration in service to over 16,000 religious priests and brothers in the United States. CMSM is headquartered in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Media contact: Susan Gibbs, sgibbs@cmsm.org | 202.525.9554

 

Media Coverage of CMSM National Assembly

The 2018 CMSM National Assembly and Pre-Assembly Workshop were featured in articles by the St. Louis Review and the National Catholic Reporter:

Also, follow CMSM on Facebook and Twitter.

Fr. Frank Donio, SAC, joins National Board

Rev. Frank Donio, SAC

Pallottine Father Frank Donio was elected to the National Board of CMSM as an at-large member during the organization’s 2018 National Assembly, July 31-August 3, in St. Louis, Missouri. Three other Board members were re-elected for second terms: Fr. Jim Gannon, OFM; Fr. Tim Kesicki, SJ; and Bro. Sean Moffett, CFC.

Fr. Mark Padrez, OP, president of CMSM, and Bro. Larry Schatz, FSC, recognize Fr. Brian Terry, SA, as he concludes his term as president.

Dominican Father Mark Padrez, who has served as president-elect for the past year, was installed as president of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men during an August 2 Mass. He succeeds Father Brian Terry, SA.

This year’s National Assembly focused on young adults and discernment, in preparation for the Synod on Young People. Speakers included Tulsa Bishop David Konderla; Curtis Martin, the founder of FOCUS; and a lively discussion panel with Jesuit Father Tom Gaunt, president of CARA; Dr. Mary Hess of Luther Seminary; and three young adults: Br. Javier Hansen, FSC, Andrew Paulsen, a high school teacher in Newark, and Brian Miller of the Archdiocese of St. Louis. Marist Brother Sean Sammon facilitated the panel and Assembly.

Participants also heard from Fr. Joseph Brown, SJ, professor of Africana Studies at Southern Illinois University, who challenged religious in a luncheon talk on racial justice and religious institutes. On August 1, nearly 50 participants gathered with local clergy, activists and young adults at St. Alphonsus “Rock” Church in N. St. Louis for a racial justice dialogue and prayer.

The week concluded with a Mass celebrated by St. Louis Archbishop Robert J. Carlson.

CMSM Board Commits to Long-Term Process on Racial Justice and Solidarity

Race Relations

As the national board for the leaders of U.S. Catholic religious brothers and priests, we are called to discern wisely the signs of the times and to act courageously in our response. Gathering as a national assembly in St. Louis, MO this week, we continue to see the deep scars of racial injustice, white supremacy, and exclusion of many types of people of color in our country. We acknowledge our own sin and responsibility for racism in our lives, our religious communities, and our Catholic Church.

“Every proper conscience cannot help but decisively condemn racism in whichever heart or place it lurks. Unfortunately, it shows up in forms ever new and unexpected, offending and degrading the human family. Racism is a sin which constitutes a grave offense against God.” Pope John Paul II

Today, we revive our 2014 national assembly commitments to racial justice and to follow the Holy Spirit into new territory. We need to walk with Jesus into Jerusalem.

Thus, we commit to a long-term process of listening, dialogue, and accountability. This process will enable us to thoroughly discover the historical reality of racism, exclusion,  and white privilege in our religious communities. Through such discovery we will generate concrete actions toward racial justice and solidarity.

This process will include engaging these stories and issues at our regional meetings leading up to a focused 2020 national assembly on this topic. We will provide key resources to our members to enable a fruitful and transformative process. We will also explore an anti-racism training for our upcoming board meeting.

Broad Goals of the Initiative

1) Courageous conversations about race and privilege: enable leaders to facilitate these 
2) Generate concrete actions

Jesuits Beatification Cause & Franciscan Martyrs

The beatification process for Servant of God Pedro Arrupe, SJ, is moving ahead, Jesuit Superior General Arturo Sosa announced this week. Father Arrupe served as superior general of the Society of Jesus from 1965-1983 and 15 years as president of the Union of Religious Superiors General (1967-1982). Father Arrupe was the master of novices at the Jesuit novitiate in Hiroshima, Japan, on Aug. 6, 1945, when the United States dropped an atomic bomb. Read more about Father Arrupe and the status of the beatification effort here.

Georgia Martyrs

In Georgia, Savannah Bishop Gregory J. Hartmayer, OFM Conv., is promoting the cause of the Georgia Martyrs, five Franciscan friars who served in the Spanish missions along the Georgia coast until being killed in a local uprising in 1597.

The diocese launched a new website this year to promote their cause. The cause for their beatification was opened in 1984 and the documentation sent to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints by Bishop Hartmayer’s predecessor, Bishop Kevin Boland, in 2007. Bishop Hartmayer will visit the Congregation in September to provide an update on promotion efforts.

 

Update from Friends in Solidarity With South Sudan – June 2018

Friends in Solidarity Logo

by Sr. Joan Mumaw, President and Chief Administrative Officer, Friends in Solidarity

Friends in Solidarity, the US partner to Solidarity with South Sudan, is established to support the work of religious men and women working in South Sudan training teachers, nurses, midwives, farmers and diocesan pastoral teams.

A commitment was made by UISG/USG in 2006, on behalf of religious congregations throughout the world, to the assist the Church in Sudan to build the capacity of the people to assume responsibility for their own lives and development.  Since that time, South Sudan has become an independent nation (2011) and is now engaged in negotiations to end ethnic fighting.

Solidarity with South Sudan, since 2009, has built a new teacher training college, rehabilitated the Catholic Health Training Institute, established a sustainable agricultural training program, is caring for 7000 displaced in Riimenze and working with diocesan teams in catechetical and pastoral training including trauma healing and peace building workshops. God has protected these initiatives and those engaged in training South Sudanese attending these programs.

The success of this work is due to the commitment of religious congregations of men and women from across the globe. We are nearing ten years in our commitment to the Church of Sudan. It is easy to forget that this commitment was made on our behalf. Daily we are faced with great needs.  And yet, we have this commitment and need to honor it. Currently US support for the work of Solidarity represents about 10% of what is needed to support the work being done in South Sudan. We can do more, but we need to raise awareness of both the need and the commitment of UISG/USG to this effort.

Recently I was reminded that, in the beginning of this initiative, congregations pledged to support the work of Solidarity. One major superior suggested that we offer this opportunity again and urge congregations to “take the pledge.” Pledge forms are now available and can be downloaded from the Friends in Solidarity website. Thanks for your ongoing support of this important work in the poorest country in our world. See you at CMSM Assembly!

For further information contact joanmumaw@solidarityfriends.org.

Border Separation is Immoral and Must Desist

ICE Logo

The following statement regarding the separation of families upon entry at the U.S. border was released June 20, 2018:

As Christians and Catholic religious leaders, our hearts are broken whenever our sisters and brothers suffer injustice. Many of us minister in border communities. We see the desperation of families fleeing violence and death in their homelands. We know the sacrifice of mothers and fathers seeking safety for their children.

We have once again entered that grace-filled space of deep empathy, pain, and righteous indignation as we see children being torn from their parents arms, desperately reach out and eyes widen with fear; as mothers and fathers fall to their knees in tears, the trauma of their journey suffocates their energy as the window of hope grows dim or even pitch black.

The Trump Administration has scaled-up its policy of separating children from their parents when they come to the border fleeing violence and seeking help. During a six-week span from April 19 to May 31, over 2000 children have been separated from their families, at least 100 of these children are under the age of four. This separation creates major trauma for the children and families and simply adds to the already heavy anxiety of their journey. At least one such parent committed suicide.

While every nation has a responsibility to ensure its borders, Jesus calls us to welcome the stranger and to care for the most vulnerable (Matthew 25). The Administration’s policy of separating families and prosecuting asylum seekers is immoral. The president of the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops has clearly stated that “separating babies from their mothers is not the answer and is immoral.”

This immoral policy and unjust order must no longer be followed. As religious leaders, we appeal to the heart of each individual person who participates in this tragedy of separating families. We ask you to consider the consequences of your actions and to desist as a matter of moral conscience.

We directly call to the heart of each member of Congress and the Administration. For those who have been resisting this train of injustice over many years, we deeply thank you and raise you up. For those in these institutions who have created this policy or enable it, now is time for repentance, a turning away from this sinful behavior. This immoral practice must end. The President has the power today to change the policy that has created the travesty of family separation. Laws need to be passed to prevent such policies from developing in the future. The root causes of immigration must be the focus. Our immigrants must be welcomed.

We also particularly call on individuals in Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Department of Homeland Security, especially Catholics in these institutions to withdraw their cooperation from these unjust orders. There are effective ways to slow-down or obstruct the process, and even to directly refuse to separate the children. We understand the risks this can pose for those involved. We see you as brothers and sisters. If requested and as possible, we will try to facilitate direct discussions with you and pastoral care while you discern these difficult decisions as Bishop John Stowe, OFM Conv. recently suggested at the June 2018 Bishops’ meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. We will also try as possible to mobilize resources to support you if such risks materialize into difficult consequences. Yet, know that you will become heroes for justice.

The power of a community resides in the spiritual guidance of the Spirit and in the cooperation of the people. If we allow the Spirit to guide us and we refuse to cooperate in injustice, then the leaders cannot implement this policy of separating children. We have the power if we choose to use it.

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National Assembly Update: Vatican Releases Synod Document; Hotel Deadline

The Vatican released the working document for the  Synod on Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment on June 19 (in Italian). The document has three primary sections: recognizing, interpreting and choosing with regard to vocation in life.

Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri introduced the working document, noting, “The Synod’s primary aim is to make the whole Church aware of her important and not at all optional task of accompanying every young person, without exclusion, towards the joy of love; secondly, by taking this mission seriously, the Church herself will be able to reacquire a renewed youthful dynamism; thirdly, it is also important for the Church to take this opportunity to carry out vocational discernment, so as to rediscover how she can best respond today to the call to be the soul, light, salt and leaven of our world.”

News Coverage: Catholic News Service | National Catholic Reporter

Hotel Deadline is July 6

If you are attending the Pre-Assembly Workshop and/or National Assembly, reserve your hotel room by July 6 to get our special conference rate of $135/night and to guarantee a room. “Youth & Religious Leadership Together: Discerning in Missionary Discipleship,” is July 31-Aug. 3, in St. Louis, Missouri. Learn more here. If you have questions, please contact Susan Gibbs.