Letter from Bishop Vincke
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Grace and peace from our Lord Jesus Christ to all of you.
I’ve been in Salina for a few weeks now and I can tell you without hesitation that I enjoy it here. Thanks to all of you for your warm hospitality. I really appreciate your kindness and support. I’ve traveled to many of our parishes thus far and it has been a source of great joy for me. It’s been wonderful to meet so many of you. I still have quite a few parishes to visit, as well as many of our schools. We are blessed to have a great chancery staff to support the needs of the diocese, too.
I would like to address a topic that I refer to as “A Time of Healing.”
The clergy sexual abuse scandal has been on many of our hearts, especially after the Pennsylvania grand jury report was released. The first thing I want to say is how sorry I am that this has happened. My heart goes out to all victims of abuse. What happened to them has a life-long impact on their lives and those connected to them. Sadly, many times the victims did not receive an adequate response from the Church regarding the abuse they endured and the lifelong pain and suffering that accompanies such evil. As a Church, we are extremely sorry and ask for forgiveness for the sins of our clergy. I am sorry as well to all of you, the faithful. What happened leaves us frustrated, confused and even angry. It is completely understandable to have these feelings. I’m also sorry to all of our good priests who have not been involved in any wrongdoing. It’s been very hard on them, too. When one suffers, we all suffer.
We cannot let this happen again. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) stated the truth must come out in these situations. To uncover the truth we must launch an audit, with the majority of help from lay people, into what has happened and why it happened. I encourage you to read Cardinal DiNardo’s comments at the USCCB website ( http://www.usccb.org/news/
With that said, I’ve had discussions with many people in our diocese; and more importantly, I have given this difficult issue much prayer and concluded hiring someone to do an independent audit of the diocesan files is the correct and just action to take. It is my hope this action will uncover any wrongdoings that occurred in the past, and only then can we attempt to make those individuals that were harmed whole again.
I realize too, that as your new bishop I will have to gain your trust. I’ve been praying about this. The only thing I can do is to give my life for you and to love you as Jesus loves you. I know I will fail at times, but I pray each morning to love the people that I encounter. Please pray for me. The Lord has chosen me to be your shepherd during this difficult time in the Church. The evil one wants me, and all of us, to live out of fear and mistrust, and to stop preaching the saving mysteries of the Gospel.
This is indeed a dark time in the Church. But God has shed his light on the darkness so that healing can take place. This might be a long process. However, we put our trust in the Lord who will bring a greater good out of this than we can ever imagine.
I’ve started a monthly communication (Enews) to the people of the diocese. I know that some of you don’t receive email. Perhaps you can get a copy from someone at the parish. Otherwise, please sign up at https://salinadiocese.org/