D. Duluth Bp. Paul Sirba writes about The Present Crisis – @tnccatholic

My old friend Bp. Paul Sirba (also from my home parish, Assistant Priest at my 1st Solemn Mass, good ping pong player), has issued a statement to the faithful entrusted to his charge in the Diocese of Duluth. It is concise and packed. HERE

My emphases and comments:

Bishop Paul Sirba: Sins behind abuse crisis must be ‘confessed, rooted out, and repaired’
Aug 22, 2018

I know the answer is Jesus Christ. Hope is found in the dying and rising of Jesus. The day of restoration and renewal will happen through the mercy of Jesus and our full cooperation in the work of the Redemption of Jesus Christ. I can also hear Jesus saying, “I’ve got this.”  [Invocation of the Most Holy Name!]

For the past five years, in a more intense way — the first revelations go back to the 1980s and 1990s — Catholics in the state of Minnesota have been exposed to the sins of the Church’s priests and bishops. [Some of the first cases broke in MN.] Now the Church in Pennsylvania and across the nation has had to look at the horrendous sin of sexual abuse of minors and the failures of the Church in protecting the people of God, yet again.

We need to name the shame, anger, and sadness. The sexual abuse of minors, episcopal failures, cover-ups and enabling behaviors, homosexual subcultures in the priesthood, [There it is!] and sins against celibacy must be confessed, rooted out, and repaired. To quote Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the USCCB, “We are faced with a spiritual crisis that requires not only spiritual conversion, but practical changes to avoid repeating the sins and failures of the past that are so evident in the recent report.”

When it comes the crime of the abuse of minors, our hearts break open as sordid details call for independent investigations and the work of very trusted lay faithful to assist the bishops within the Church to remedy the problems. In the tumult, we must never lose our focus of providing healing for the victims and help for those who have been hurt and preventing this sin in the future.

Our experience of the clergy sexual abuse crisis in the Diocese of Duluth is unique to us in some ways, but the underlying sinful human condition is universal and will be brought to light across our nation and our world. While we have been living with the crisis most recently through our bankruptcy, we have to be spiritually prepared for whatever new revelations may come to light in other parts of the Body of Christ, as well. This purification, although excruciatingly painful, is necessary for healing. The light of Christ scatters the darkness of sin and evil.

The Scriptures that come to mind for me are: “It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin” (Luke 17:2), [Capital punishment, right?] the parable of the weeds among the wheat (Matthew 13:24-30), the woman caught in the act of adultery (John 8:1-8). These and other sacred texts provide ample reflection for my personal conversion and institutional change.  [I respect that he made this also personal, a point for his own reflection and conversion.  That is something we should all take to heart.  If we are going to deal with any of this crisis, then we had better also examine our consciences, GO TO CONFESSION!, and spend time on our knees praying.]

I have said that the protection of our youth and providing the safest environment for our young people is the work of our lifetime. I know our efforts in the Diocese of Duluth have made a difference. As a diocese we will continue to offer prayers for healing and reparation. I ask the clergy, religious, and lay faithful to pray and fast so as to lead the Church to enact canonical changes that hold bishops accountable, protect men discerning a call to the priesthood, and lead to new mechanisms of holding bishops accountable that have never been in place before to safeguard our children and restore trust.  [He wrote it twice.]

I apologize and humbly ask your forgiveness for what I and my fellow bishops have done or failed to do. I am sorry for anyone who has been hurt and the scandal caused in the Body of Christ.

Bishop Paul D. Sirba is the ninth bishop of Duluth.

Succinct.  Forthright.

Fr. Z kudos.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Clerical Sexual Abuse, Fr. Z KUDOS, Mail from priests, Sin That Cries To Heaven and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Malta says:

    In Texas, if you are caught twice molesting a child, and if the second time there is DNA evidence, you get capital punishment. Either way, you are toast in the penal system if they find out you messed with a kid.

  2. Kathleen10 says:

    That, is a good start. With all due respect I would please like to caution bishops and priests to realize this sacred trust, now broken, will take time to heal, and that it would only begin when all are on board with the changes that must happen for any healing to start. As in a marriage or any important relationship, trust is hard won over significant time, but is so easy to break. The repair of the relationship begins with true sorrow and a firm amendment to make good. We are still seeing more denial than culpability, and one suspects we are seeing culpability from the men who never had any part in these acts to begin with! Their good efforts are so appreciated, but will be insufficient. It is hard to imagine any human endeavor likely to be successful here.

    Where once I feel we looked at this issue with cloudy lenses, it seems all too clear now. The homosexuality, the effeminacy, the corruption of so many boys by priests and bishops, the level of coverup, the destruction of the liturgy and the mocking of tradition, and now the evading of responsibility or declaration of needed change, even the arrogance of ignoring the people, it is all of one piece.
    I don’t wish to be a downer, really, I don’t. I worry about those who are in despair over this. But I can’t imagine a top down acknowledgement of the problem and without that, the church will continue to flail. Catholics will leave over this. Catholics will refuse to support this church and it will remain that way unless and until there is meaningful change. We’re not stupid, we’ll know it if we hear it. Thus far, it has not come.
    Please, one added point. This situation has just exacerbated a serious division already existing, thus far, remaining somewhat in the shadows, but there nonetheless. The level of antipathy from these men toward actual Catholicism has been obvious for decades, to the point that, frankly, people long for a declared schism which would at least delineate this reality. How bad is it that Catholics long for schism? Also, the immigration issue has been seriously divisive, and the church is tone-deaf on that score as well. Other than money, there is no explanation for Catholic leaders to continue to promote the invasion of the West by Islam. This issue simmers under the surface, and has caused significant resentment and anger among the laity.
    I would like to remind church leaders, if I could, that while we had no idea of the scope and depth of this horror that has been inflicted on us, that they as well probably have no idea of the level of frustration and anger seething in a lot of Catholics, for whom this replay of 2002 is just stoking a much bigger fire. That is why no words and isolated effort is going to be effective at even the beginning of repairing this relationship. It is now just far too big a breach.

  3. JesusFreak84 says:

    No mention of abuse of seminarians and other adults, though =-\

  4. Dan says:

    I appreciate that Bishop’s and priests are scrambling to make statements, to condemn these horrific acts, to pledge to do better. I really appreciate the ones that offer sound guidance like Bishop Sirba’s. The question I have for the Bishop’s, Priests, and laypeople, particularly myself as well is “What are you going to do about it?” And I don’t mean politicing around that “we are going to form a commission”, and “there will be an investigation”, and “we will enact new policies”. Great! do those things, but what are YOU going to do about it? Priests are you going to start calling out deviant behavior in your homilies? will you have the courage to maybe put on a cassock, or at least not change into your Hawaiian shirt 10 minutes after Mass? Will you stand up to the devil? be MEN, shepherd your flocks and lead us into battle? because make no mistake, this is a battle and it is about to get much much worse, because now the government is going to come into our Church to “root out the evil” but what they will attempt to actually do is root out the Church as we know it.
    I include the faithful too in that challenge myself in particular, because we cannot sit back and Monday morning quarterback our priests and Bishops if we are not willing to stand shoulder to shoulder with them (and because if I don’t put myself out it appears I am just virtue casting which I am in a way but I still think it is a legit question, is it virtue casting to ask our priests to “man up?”). But I ask, Am I prepared to bring the Church into my home, to pray for our priests, those fallen and those fighting. For many of us that is all we can do is pray, we might not get a chance to put our head on the chopping block, perhaps that would be easier? Am I willing to take the roll of St. Therese of the Child Jesus and pray fervently?

    O Almighty Eternal God, Look upon the face of Thy Christ, and for the love of Him, Who is the Eternal High Priest, have pity on Thy priests. Remember, O most compassionate God, that they are but weak and frail human beings. Stir up in them the grace of their vocation which is in them by the imposition of the Bishop’s hands. Keep them close to Thee, lest the enemy prevail against them, so that they may never do anything in the slightest degree unworthy of their sublime vocation.

    O Jesus, I pray to Thee, for Thy faithful and fervent priests; for Thy unfaithful and tepid priests; for Thy priests laboring at home or abroad in distant mission fields; for Thy tempted priests, for Thy lonely and desolate priests; for Thy young priests; for Thy aged priests; for Thy sick priests; for Thy dying priests; for the souls of Thy priests in purgatory.

    But above all, I commend to Thee the priests dearest to me: the priest who baptized me; the priests who absolved me from my sins; the priests at whose Masses I assisted and who gave me Thy Body and Blood in Holy Communion; the priests who taught and instructed me or helped and encouraged me; all the priests to whom I am indebted in any other way, particularly [name a particular priest of your choosing here]. O Jesus, keep them all close to Thy heart, and bless them abundantly in time and in eternity. Amen.

  5. Traductora says:

    One thing that must be done is to get rid of the national bishops’ conferences. These things dilute the authority – no, they remove it entirely – of the local bishop and make him subservient to this committee, which is invariably headed by the most leftist and politicized and modernist of the bishops. And with a leftist (Francis) or weak and ambiguous pope (JPII), it is a powerful engine for corruption. I remember how badly the USCCB did on accepting Summorum Pontificum, because a number of them hated BXVI.

    The national bishops’ conference was an innovation of VII that was then later given canonical status. Take it out and drop it into the deepest part of the ocean.

  6. Cincinnati Priest says:

    Dan, thank you for your terrific post. If we priests have enough humble parishioners like you, willing to pray for us and stand shoulder-to-shoulder, and to be real men of God, then we can weather this crisis. Thank you for your prayers.

  7. I think we miss something when we underline homosexuality as the primary cause of the priest sex abuse scandal.
    Too rarely do we ask why there is now such a pervasive Boys Club/Lavendar Mafia across the Universal Church? What is the ideology and driving force behind this global phenomenon? Not just generally sin and spiritual crisis, but a collective, organized attack on the Catholic Faith itself. The modernism and liberalism that has perverted the minds of this subculture has to be underlined and admitted, and rooted out by those bishops who are still faithful.

    [Many times on this blog I have pointed out that several groups have targeted the Church for infiltration and subversion: Masons, Communists, Homosexuals, often with overlap.]

  8. Nicholas says:

    A good ping-pong player AND willing to say the hard truths?

    Dear Cardinals,
    Please make this man the next pope.

  9. If I understand you correctly, Fr. Z, it is several infiltrating ideologies that are behind clerical, homosexual pedastry in the Church, not only modernism and liberalism which I mentioned.

    But I see those movements you talk about in your blog as part of one over-arching system of belief and practice. There must be a name for that, so the good bishops know exactly what to target.

    By the way, thank you for your great work here at this blog, helping to promote the Faith, and a restoration of our sacred tradition. I especially like how the Tridentine Mass Society in Madison has helped the Madison diocese become a model for other dioceses in restoring the ancient Mass.

Comments are closed.