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‘The truth needs to be known,’ diocesan officials say

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Triggered by the scathing report of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury and the news about Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, several people made calls to the diocesan Office of Victim Assistance this summer. 

podcast“(People call and say), ‘I’ve been thinking about this for years and trying not to think about it for years and now is just the time I need to go on record. I need to have my story told,’ ” said Dr. Frank Moncher, coordinator of Victim Assistance. “It takes a lot of courage.” 

Moncher and Deacon Marques Silva, director of the Office of Child Protection and Safety, recently sat down for the “Catholic Herald Podcast” to talk about their professional and personal reactions to the allegations of abuse in the Catholic Church. 

“It was not just shock — it was anger and frustration,” said Deacon Silva. “But there was a sense from me that we need to keep doing what we’re doing because I know that since the policies and procedures were put in place back in 2004, that they're working to help keep our kids safe. Of course, never perfectly, but there’s a way to ensure that we know more about those who are coming into contact with our kids.”

When asked what the laity can do to affect change, Moncher urged Catholics to talk about their thoughts and emotions in community.

“This has been happening spontaneously, but I think it’s worth encouraging, for the laity to dialogue with each other and with the church about what their reactions are,” he said. Both men spoke about the importance of truth being proclaimed.

“I think for a long time people may have held back and not wanted to speak about these things, (but) without knowing the truth we're not going to get to justice," said Moncher. “Our church is one of both mercy and justice. Our God is a God of mercy and justice. So for justice to be had, truth needs to be known.”

“In the church we never wish or want scandal,” said Deacon Silva. “But there’s this great quote by Pope St. Gregory the Great that says it's better that scandals arise than the truth be suppressed. 

“Because once the truth is revealed — because secrets have power — we’re able to start treating the wound and bringing about healing,” said Deacon Silva. “God-willing, a good healing process will come out of this and the church will be stronger. But most importantly, the victims who have not experienced the care they were seeking, hopefully we now can provide it.”

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018