HOUSTON (FOX 26) — "It’s very painful," says Most Reverend Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, the Archbishop of Galveston-Houston. "It’s a lacerating wound in the Church. For us, for me, and for not just the victims, but that’s who we’re focusing on, but for our people."
After consulting with His Holiness Pope Francis over the ongoing priest abuse scandal, Cardinal Dinardo led the effort for the 15 Catholic dioceses in Texas to open their records and release names of "credibly accused clergy" over almost 70 years.
"Perhaps part of the culture is that people uphold the Church, they uphold the clergy, and there was too much secrecy," describes Cardinal Dinardo. "And when there is secrecy, people won’t come forward and tell. And then the Church gets very secretive. 'Oh well, we can’t say much about this.' That’s not true now, but that could have been part of it. We had maybe some priests who should have never been ordained and maybe we have to do further work in the seminary formation.
Regarding his own culpability, facing suggestions that he may have dismissed allegations of clergy abuse in southeast Texas and Iowa, Cardinal Dinardo says, "I thought I did both there and here what I could do. I was certainly I tried to be totally responsible. Some people may say I moved too slowly. I think that I’ve done what I could do in these situations. So I would not totally share that point of view. Do we always need to improve? Do I need to improve? Sure. I would say that and I take responsibility."
Cardinal Dinardo adds that Pope Francis is keenly tuned in to finding a resolution, healing and peace to this American crisis. He also says this is a major wound in the church and he wants to see it ended too.
"Does it end because you announce something? No, this is going to take some time," says Cardinal Dinardo. "Somebody had asked me, 'Would you say that it’s finally over?' I said, 'We’ll find the end but I don’t think in my time.' This is going to take time. When you have a problem that’s this rooted and deep, you have to keep working on it.
And that work goes on one day at a time, according to Cardinal Dinardo.
"There are many people who are still willing to work with and for and with the Church and I am grateful for them," says Cardinal Dinardo. "There are other people who have been so hurt, they have walked away. We’ve got to find a way to invite them back, but of course, to invite them back, we have to be converted. And that’s what I hope for and what I work for as a matter of fact."