- We, the Discalced Carmelites of the Province of St. Therese (Oklahoma Province), continue to pray for all those who have suffered at the hands of priests and religious, and particularly for those who have suffered at the hands of our priests and religious brothers. We also pray for the family members who together with the victims have suffered and are suffering this tragedy.
There are so many aspects surrounding this calamity that it is difficult to address them all, including:
- The hurt, the anger, and the shame experienced by the abused;
- The hurt, the anger and the shame of priests and religious who have been faithful to the trust committed to them in their ministry;
- The betrayal felt by the believing community.
We offer to all of those who have been victimized at the hands of our priests and religious a most genuine and heartfelt apology. We also offer a most sincere apology to the rest of the believing community and to those who belong to the family of Carmel.
We, with the bishops of the United States, are committed to truth and transparency in regard to the protection of children and vulnerable adults. We, as a whole, are also committed to their continued protection, the prevention of sexual abuse, an accountability for any abuse that has occurred, and a striving towards necessary reconciliation with the Church for those who have suffered abuse.
We, as religious, belong to the Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM). In 2002, we, along with the CMSM, began a long-term program of education and accountability which honors and fulfills the standards set forth by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) regarding the protection of minors in the Catholic Church. We are working in concert with the various bishops in whose dioceses we serve to work towards this transparency that is so necessary in our times.
We will be posting our letter of accreditation regarding our compliance with the standards set by CMSM and Praesidium, the third-party accreditors. It is our hope that this will serve as an assurance to all of our commitment to keeping these standards that help ensure the protection of children and vulnerable adults to whom we minister.
The different dioceses in which we serve will be publishing a list of all priests credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors. Each diocese will have its own time period that will be covered. Some will publish names of those who have been credibly accused since 1940, others since 1950, etc.
A ‘credible allegation’ is one that after review of information available and consultation with a Review Board (consisting of lay members) is believed to be true or to have the ‘semblance of truth’. Some dioceses have decided to publish the names of those who have been accused even if the allegation has not been determined to be credible. In the case of deceased priests/religious, some dioceses have decided to publish their names if there has been a public allegation against them relying solely on the strength of the uncorroborated statement of the victim.
This procedure for reporting poses a delicate situation for several reasons –
- Some of these allegations are difficult to investigate since they go back for decades making gathering facts and testimonies a difficult and elusive task.
- We are now following different standards which did not exist in the past.
- It is important to keep in mind, that in justice we have a duty to protect the good name of priests and religious from false accusations as well as to protect and support all victims of abuse.
In addition to the diocesan postings, we will also list the names of those who have been credibly accused on this website and on the websites of our monasteries in the Province.
We ask that you continue to pray for all those who have been affected by these tragedies as well as for the bishops and church leaders that are working to maintain transparent accountability.
I, as your brother in Christ, also ask that you pray for all those who have lived their vocation to the priesthood and/or religious life in faithful service and integrity who are also being affected by these calamities and who can only entrust themselves to the Lord to whom they have devoted their lives.
Fr. Stephen Sánchez, O. C. D.
Provincial of the Oklahoma Province of St. Therese