Message from Rev. Brian F. Linnane, S.J., Loyola’s president: Responding to the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church
Rev. Brian F. Linnane, S.J., president of Loyola University Maryland, sent the following message to Loyola community on Sept. 28, 2018:
Dear Members of the Loyola Community:
In recent weeks, many of us have been carrying the weight of the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church. This scandal in the Church has shaken many Catholics to their core. There are members of our community who are survivors of sexual abuse who experience this news in a particularly difficult way. Many members of our community who believe in our mission and values long to see Loyola become even more engaged in this conversation—a conversation that will be essential as we work to overcome the past and build a better future for the Catholic Church.
We have been praying for the brokenness of the Church and remembering the survivors of sexual abuse in our intentions every Sunday at Mass. Earlier this week Campus Ministry held a listening session to offer students an opportunity to voice their responses. Those prayers and dialogues will continue.
Whether we are experiencing sadness, anger, betrayal, confusion, or doubt, let us come together and support one another during this time. I hope you will join me for a day of prayer for survivors of sexual abuse and for the future of the Catholic Church on Oct. 11 in the Alumni Memorial Chapel. The chapel will be open all day for Eucharistic Adoration, reflection, and prayer, and the 12:10 p.m. Mass will be offered for this intention. We will conclude that day with a university vigil at 5 p.m. Campus Ministry will be providing further details.
As Pope Francis said in his letter of Aug. 20, “May the Holy Spirit grant us the grace of conversion and the interior anointing needed to express before these crimes of abuse our compunction and our resolve courageously to combat them.” This may be a time that will require courage, but we are a community that knows how to embrace challenge with conviction.
Please also keep in mind the tremendous value of accompaniment as we make this journey together. If you need additional support, please do not hesitate to contact the professionals in the Counseling Center, Campus Ministry, or the student life office, all of whom are prepared to assist you. If you are a survivor of assault, please turn to our sexual violence prevention, education, and response coordinator. I also want to assure students that we have a reporting system in place with resources available here. Our employees are designated as Campus Security Authorities, whose key responsibility is to encourage crime victims and witnesses to report crimes to the Department of Public Safety. Ensuring that Loyola offers a safe, supportive environment where students can learn and thrive is our top priority.
St. Ignatius gave us a powerful tool, the Examen, which helps us understand that even in brokenness and sinfulness we can find the love and goodness of God. We may not be able to see that in this moment. We have to have faith, however, that after we move through the darkness, we will find light. All of us are wrestling with this, including those of us who are members of the Society of Jesus. With you, we grieve the past. With you, we face the current realities. And, with you, we have hope that we can come together to create a more compassionate, more just future.
Rev. Brian F. Linnane, S.J.