I know that some would prefer we just stop talking about this and move on. The fact that this wound will not heal tells us that we must continue to bring everything into the light. This is not easy.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In November I spoke of my plans to release the names of the clergy who have been credibly accused of abuse of minors. We have completed our review of the files and I will release the list of names this Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019.

This is a difficult decision that I have made, but I am convinced that bringing more of the facts of this tragedy into the light will be a help to the victims of abuse and the beginning, I hope, of re-establishing trust where it has been lost. I hope that this list will be a help to the victims of abuse who have felt betrayed and unsupported by the unwillingness of the Church to publicly admit to the crimes of these priests and to acknowledge the depth of pain and hurt that was caused by these priests’ abusive actions. I pray the release of this list will be a witness to my willingness to listen and an encouragement for those who have been victims of abuse in the Church to come forward so we can offer help in their healing.

I know that some would prefer we just stop talking about this and move on. The fact that this wound will not heal tells us that we must continue to bring everything into the light. This is not easy. I have listened to some victims share their stories, and there are no words to express the depth of sadness and shame that was experienced in our Church and is part of OUR diocesan history. It is hard to publish this list for all to see, but real renewal and healing cannot take place until we acknowledge the truth of our past. Yet even though in this moment we are rightly brought low, I have not lost hope. For when we are humbled, the words of Scripture give us hope: “For God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to bring to light the knowledge of the glory of God on the face of Jesus Christ. But we hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of GOD and not from us” (2Cor. 4:7). So we release our list this week for the Light of Christ is greater than the Darkness.

Let us pray that this week’s sad revelation will deepen our concern for the victims of abuse, inspire us all to a greater accountability to protect our children, and renew our desire to grow in holiness in the image of Jesus our Savior.

Hope in the Lord,

+Michael

Bishop of Baton Rouge