In the next four months, all 15 Catholic dioceses in Texas will release names of clergy who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor. The lists will include information dating back to at least 1950, according to a statement released Wednesday by The Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops.
The bishops’ decision was made in the context of their ongoing work to protect children from sexual abuse, and their efforts to promote healing and a restoration of trust in the Catholic Church. TCCB said the decision to release names was made on September 30, but wasn't announced until nearly two weeks later.
With 8.5 million Catholics and 1,320 Catholic parishes in Texas, the endeavor to compile a comprehensive list of clergy who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor represents a major project, TCCB said. All dioceses will publish their lists by January 31, 2019.
“It will take some time for files to be reviewed, and there may be people who come forward with new information following this announcement. My brother bishops in Texas and I agree that transparency in this painful matter of sexual abuse can assist with healing for survivors and transformation for our Church,” Archbishop of San Antonio Gustavo García-Siller, MSpS said.
The release of names of clergy credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor is part of an ongoing effort by the dioceses to provide an even safer environment for children. These lists will be updated as new information becomes available. Each bishop will be releasing his own statement and list, TCCB said.
Archbishop García-Siller released a statement on Wednesday after the announcement. It reads:
The Archdiocese of San Antonio is unconditionally committed to the protection of children, youth, and vulnerable populations within our community. In order to assure their protection from harm, it has been mandated that all adults who minister to children must receive Safe Environment Training every three years. It is also mandated that all children and youth enrolled in religious education or in Catholic Schools must also receive Safe Environment Training on a yearly basis.
The Archdiocese of San Antonio is currently using Protecting God's Children by Virtus in order to train adults on abuse prevention. This training is available at our parishes, schools and online. Protecting God's Children discusses the complexities of abuse and the steps necessary to protect children and youth. The children and youth are educated using the Yello Dyno program and the Child Lures program. These programs are intended to educate, inform and empower the children and youth in our Archdiocese.
I cannot protect all children and youth alone; it is important that all Catholics ensure that we are following the mandate of Jesus, and "Let the little children come to Me." All adults, including parents, are encouraged to receive Safe Environment Training. Children and youth need trusted and loving adults in whom they can confide any concern or fear.
We have chosen to act vigorously against interpersonal violence. If you have any questions, concerns, or ideas on ways to create a Safe Environment in your parish, school or institution, please call the Office of Victim Assistance & Safe Environment at 210-734-7786 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org and get involved. This is a responsibility we all must accept in order to protect all of God's children.