The Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego will hold eight listening sessions throughout the county to hear from its community about the church’s sexual abuse problems.
“The Pennsylvania grand jury report demands action and also points the way toward reform in the life of our Church,” Bishop Robert McElroy said in a letter handed out at local masses.
The listening sessions are intended to hear how people want to strengthen accountability and review of sexual misconduct allegations in the church, according to the diocese.
“For me as a bishop there is an additional level of shame,” McElroy said, “Because in many instances, this abuse was magnified by the leadership of the Church that placed fear of scandal and the culture of clericalism ahead of the protection of young people.”
Our Mother of Confidence parishioner Terri Mawhinney said the issues shouldn't be handled internally anymore and that civil authorities should be involved.
“I don’t want any more shoving under the rug," she said Monday at the first of eight listening sessions. "I don’t want any more denial. If there’s a problem- get it right away. Take care of it. If the person needs to be reported as a sex offender, report them as a sex offender. No hush-hush stuff anymore.”
The bishop said he already started a dialogue with local leadership about the sexual abuse claims and potential reform measures.
Now he wants to call on the “people in the pews” to tell their story and voice their hopes for the church’s future.
The listening sessions are as follows:
- Oct. 1, 7:00 p.m., Our Mother of Confidence Parish Hall at 3131 Governor Dr, San Diego
- Oct. 3, 7:00 p.m., St. Joseph Cathedral Auditorium at 1535 Third Ave, San Diego
- Oct. 4, 7:00 p.m., Our Lady of Grace Parish Center at 2766 Navajo Rd, El Cajon
- Oct. 5, 7:00 p.m., St. Charles Borromeo Parish Hall at 2802 Cadiz St, San Diego
- Oct. 6, 9:00 a.m., St. Mary Parish Center at 795 S La Brucherie Rd, El Centro
- Oct. 17, 7:00 p.m., Church of the Nativity Parish Hall at 6309 El Apajo, Rancho Santa Fe
- Oct. 18, 7:00 p.m., St. Gabriel Parish Hall at 13734 Twin Peaks Rd, Poway
- Nov. 5, 10:00 a.m., University of San Diego, Joan Kroc Institute at 5998 Alcalá Park, San Diego
To read the bishop’s full letter, see the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego’s website.