Rhoades sends pastoral letter to area Catholics
The Rev. Kevin C. Rhoades, bishop of the Diocese of Fort Wayne South Bend, has taken the unusual step of mailing a pastoral letter on what he calls the “clergy sex abuse crisis” facing the church to the area’s Catholic households.
The letter by Rhoades occupies the first two pages of a special edition of Today’s Catholic, the diocese’s weekly newspaper. In the missive, the bishop commits to following up on proposals on openness issued last month during an administrative committee of U.S. bishops and calls for a diocese-wide Day of Prayer and Penance on Friday.
The bishop calls for special Masses in parishes and fasting and prayers among the faithful. Several prayers are printed in the newspaper.
He urges members to focus on the example of Christ, the good the church does and “doing good” themselves.
In this situation, doing good includes helping victim-survivors of abuse to heal.
“Though this has been a priority for me and our diocese for years, I want it to be an even higher priority,” he wrote in the letter.
“For this reason, I recently released to the public the names of clergy of our diocese credibly accused of abuse. I did this as a way to help victims in the healing process. I have already received messages of thanks from victim-survivors who have told me that it has helped them to feel vindicated.”