By Robbie Cruz
Catholic University President John Garvey, responding to the recent defrocking of former Cardinal and Archbishop of Washington, emailed students regarding the sexual abuse cases from bishop Theodore McCarrick. The email was distributed to Catholic University students on Tuesday, February 19th, encouraging students to use their voice on issues concerning sexual abuse to minors, adults, and using the sacrament of confession to solicit sex.
Catholic University has already launched a series of public conferences regarding sexual abuse cases. Catholic University formed a panel discussion in November with journalists from newspapers, such as the New York Times, Washington Post, Catholic News Agency, and the Crux.
According to President Garvey, the discussions were successful, but there is still work to be done.
“We want to do more than just talk,” Garvey told the Catholic University Tower. “The Catholic Project will include research and educational resources on the causes of the crisis, attention to the needs and perspectives of the survivors, and principles and best practices for preventing a future crisis.”
This project has multiple purposes, starting with its initial purpose of safe child protection and teaching safe environment training, in case anyone is put in this situation.
According to Garvey, the sexual abuse crisis is more widespread than expected, which has led to a deep distrust of leadership in the church. Despite this being the case, Garvey knows that it is our job to find ways for renewal in the Church.
“Here at The Catholic University of America, we have a unique ability to be useful to the Church in addressing this issue. We have a first-rate National Catholic School of Social Service, which has already been working on issues related to sexual abuse,” said Garvey. “We also have a law school and the only School of Canon Law in the country. We have a School of Theology and Religious Studies, not to mention our School of Nursing and our department of sociology.”
Catholic University has been working on resolving the issues regarding the abuse cases. However, fixing the situation is not all that the Catholic Project will research, as the people who are working on the project have questions of their own.
According to Karna Lozoya, the Executive Director of University Communications, the people who are actively working on this project are attempting to find out why the priests sexually assaulted minors. The people working are also researching ways to eliminate potential offenders before they enter the priesthood, and how we can completely eliminate the abuse of minors in the church.
Despite everything that will be researched, Garvey has reiterated the importance of addressing the issues surrounding the abuse of the minors. Once the issues at hand are resolved, the project will include research on eliminating potential offenders before they enter the priesthood.
According to Garvey, the goal of the project is to impact students and faculty on campus and in the Catholic University community.
“We already have had several conferences on this issue, and there will be more. I hope our students will be able to participate in some, or all of these events,” Garvey stated.
Garvey also said that this project aspires to reach out to all American Catholics. The Catholic community has begun a series of presentations in cities across the country, cities including Washington, Philadelphia, Naples, New York, Boston, Chicago, Pittsburg, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. There will also be a podcast series that will reach to English speakers across the world.
This is a project that is expected to take years to work on, however, Garvey and the rest of the Catholic University community expect to make an impact regarding the scandals.
University chaplain Rev. Jude DeAngelo reminds us that the Church is not ours to fix. “The Church belongs to Jesus Christ, who died for our sins, and he has invited us to follow him.” If you or anyone is interested in receiving news and updates on the project, please consider signing up at https://thecatholicproject.org/.