Dear JVC Northwest Community,
In light of the deeply distressing, extensive sexual abuse report from the Pennsylvania Grand Jury, the board and staff of JVC Northwest express our great pain and empathy for the victims and survivors of sexual abuse at the hands of priests, their superiors and other representatives of the Church who chose not to protect the children. This is a time of questioning, sadness, and anger. The betrayal by these abusers who were supposed to be spiritual guides and religious leaders is difficult to comprehend.
We are devastated to learn of the Pennsylvania state report which only compounds the countless experiences of children in our Northwest region and around the globe. We also recognize our own sins, and our role in this painful history. We acknowledge the history of JVC Northwest in unwittingly sending JVs to serve with Jesuits, some of whom were later accused and confirmed to be child sex abusers. We are truly sorry for these actions.
It would be good for us to recognize the church in the vision of Vatican Council II, the priesthood of the laity. Fr. Jack Morris, SJ, co-founder of Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest believed the JVC movement was exactly that! The church is made up of all the people of God, we are a community – not a hierarchy. The church are those who struggle every day to do the right thing, to serve their neighbor, to stand for justice.
This is a time for prayer and for action on behalf of those victimized and abused. If you wish to speak on behalf of justice, it is important to let Church leaders hear our concerns. Contact your bishop with your concerns. Below are names and addresses of the papal nuncio and the president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Houston, TX 77002
The Jesuit USA West Province has offered both spiritual and legal thoughts on the matter. Specifically, Fr. Scott Santarosa, SJ, Provincial of the USA West Province, has asked that this letter be shared with Jesuit ministries.
We stand by the victims. We stand by our volunteers, our staff, and our values. We encourage all of you to talk with us if you have any questions or concerns.