Dear Reader: A Call for Justice

In 2002, the topic of clergy sex abuse started to grab headlines here in the United States following a disturbing report by the Boston Globe about the handling of some clergy abuse cases in the Archdiocese of Boston. Since then, stories of abuse—and mishandling of the cases—have continued to be uncovered. The bishops first discussed the situation at their June 2002 general meeting in Dallas, Texas. One of the bishops at the meeting was then-Archbishop Theodore McCarrick. Despite personal hesitations, he voted to approve the bishops’ plan to address the crisis.

Years later, McCarrick became the focus of clergy sex abuse accusations himself after stories and allegations of inappropriate behavior and sexual abuse came to light. Finally, at the end of 2021, he was put on trial for child sex abuse charges. He pleaded not guilty, but was laicized by the Vatican in 2019.

In this issue, Father Boniface Ramsey discusses how he sounded the alarm over McCarrick’s behavior years ago, only to be ignored. When Ramsey was serving on the faculty of the Immaculate Conception Seminary at Seton Hall University in New Jersey during McCarrick’s stint as archbishop of Newark from 1986 to 2000, he began to hear stories of McCarrick’s troubling behavior. He took his concerns to people higher in the Church, but to no avail. You can read more about his fight for justice in the article “The Whistleblower.”

We offer our prayers for all those who are survivors of sex abuse and thank those, like Father Ramsey, who have used their voices for justice.

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