My dear friends in Christ,
Ten years ago, in the early days of 2002, a problem with a history far deeper than any of us had imagined, that had been wreaking havoc along its course, exploded in the Church. We never can and never will forget our shock and revulsion at the revelations that for decades, children had been subjected to sexual abuse, devastating their lives and those of their families and loved ones. The magnitude of these horrendous crimes was made even greater by the abuse having been perpetrated by Catholic priests, who shattered the bond of trust placed in them by the people they had promised to serve.
As a Church we must continue to express the depth of our sorrow and contrition for how badly we failed those entrusted to our care. I reflect on this in my prayer every day. As leaders in the Church we must accept our responsibility for those failings and clearly acknowledge that Church leadership could have and should have responded more quickly and more forcefully. We cannot change the tragic implications of past failures, but we must, we can and we will do everything in our power to ensure that these crimes, these sins, never occur in the community of the Church again.