For Immediate Release
2:00 p.m. October 1, 2009
I am Archbishop Anthony Mancini, Apostolic Administrator for the Diocese of Antigonish.
First I must tell you that I am not speaking for Bishop Raymond Lahey, I am not informed about events that are unfolding for Bishop Lahey. I am not going to speculate with you about Bishop Lahey. I believe that would be irresponsible on my part. I am not a lawyer or a judge or a policeman or anything else like that. I am a Bishop.
I am here with Father Paul Abbass, who is spokesperson for the diocese of Antigonish. He brings the experience of the local reality of this diocese.† I have prepared a letter to the people, priests and religious of the Diocese of Antigonish and to those who have been victims of sexual abuse in the past and are feeling revictimized now.† I will read it to you now.
As Apostolic Administrator for the Diocese of Antigonish, I have come to be with you in the midst of this sadness, pain and anxiety.† I come with what I have, that is, my care and my concern. It is in this sense that I understand the shepherding role that I am asked to exercise here.
Let me first speak to those victims of past sexual abuse and to all for whom this news rekindles past pain. These recent revelations take on the character of victimization. I wish it were not so. This is not what our community of faith is supposed to be about.† We have already stated that this new reality will not undo the settlement with victims of sexual abuse that has been approved.
I am well aware that everyone is in shock. I am concerned with all who are trying to find any meaning in this devastation.† I do not have the solution to this problem, or the capacity to take away the pain, or the means to erase this tragedy. It may be that some would wish for a quick solution to the problems we are facing, but all that I know is that whatever the solution may be, it will be a matter of collaboration and faith, and we all must do our part.
I have come today to meet with the priests and diocesan personnel, to reach out to all and to attempt to ensure that all will be cared for as best we can. It is important to recognize that we are standing in a place of brokenness and vulnerability right now. In these very early days, we need to begin to look forward, not to escape this pain but to look at how we are being called to be the community of faith at this time. This calls for a great deal of hope, and belief that we do not do any of this alone. We are all in this together.
I want to encourage the priests to gather with each other, that they may help one another to come to the greater appreciation that they are brothers in Christ, and so find the strength to continue in the ministry entrusted to them.† Also, I want to encourage parishioners to draw on each otherís faith as you carry this painful burden and grieve for the losses that we are experiencing. If you can, bring this burden to the parish Eucharist, where we bring all our troubles. This is how we can continue to be the community of faith for and with one another in these times.
I am committed in spite of everything that has happened to try to help us all get to another place, more reflective of the Gospel we are about. This can be an opportunity for all of us to rediscover what it is to be the community of faith, to realize what the root of our faith really is, and how each of us helps to share the faith.
We are going through a very painful contemporary experience of the mystery of our Faith, which is all about Passion and Death yes, but it is also about the promise of Resurrection, without which we have no future. So I call on you to be hopeful because we believe in new life and new possibilities.