November 19, 2018
Update on PC’s Response to the Church Abuse Crisis
At the beginning of this academic year, we wrote to you to join our voices to those of so many others — priests, religious, and members of the laity — in publicly acknowledging and denouncing the stories of irreparable harm inflicted on minors and vulnerable adults by members of the clergy. The anger, pain, and confusion that gripped so many members of our community was evident then and continues still. We did not then, nor do we now, attempt to explain away the many stories of abuse and subsequent cover-ups. What we did do, however, was pledge to grapple with the serious and complex questions before us and to work together as a community to help reform and renew the Church. We are writing to you again as this semester draws to a close to update you on how we have begun to make good on that commitment, and inform you of the things we are planning in the weeks and months to come.
Soon after the semester began, the Office of Mission and Ministry began to host a number of brainstorming sessions. Led by Bob Pfunder ’09, associate vice president for mission and ministry, and Dr. Aurelie A. Hagstrom ’85, the William J. and Maryann Christie Endowed Chair in Catholic and Dominican Studies, these discussions brought together faculty and staff members to talk about their own experiences related to the abuse scandal, and to consider appropriate ways for the College to respond going forward.
We are grateful to Bob, Aurelie, and the other members of the community whose efforts, honesty, and valuable insights brought about some real hope in the midst of the Church’s dark night. At their recommendation, we will be hosting listening sessions for all members of the College community who wish to participate. We will be hosting three such sessions in the coming weeks. We also will be hosting a series of lectures and discussions in the spring semester designed to help us continue to contemplate the scourge of abuse in the Church so as to work together to rebuild our wounded Church.
We also have scheduled a lunchtime Advent retreat series called Waiting On God, wherein we will pray, reflect, and discuss the coming of the Light of the World in this time of darkness in the Church. These sessions will be recorded and will be available online.
At this time, we also want to renew our sincere commitment to fairly, compassionately, and appropriately address allegations of sexual abuse experienced by members of our campus community. We encourage and invite anyone who has suffered abuse in their time at Providence College to report it. Options for reporting include the College’s Title IX coordinator, Dr. James Campbell (email@example.com; 401-865-2676) or the Victims’ Assistance Coordinator for the Dominican Province of St. Joseph, Theresa Rodriguez (firstname.lastname@example.org; 518-573-8254.)
Rev. Kenneth Sicard, O.P.
Rev. James Cuddy, O.P.
Vice President for Mission and Ministry