The following letter to the faithful from Bishop Jaime Soto was distributed at Masses in the Diocese of Sacramento August 18-19.
Dear Friends in Christ:
I am ashamed of the senseless harm and failures of priests and bishops recently revealed in the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report and the scandalous revelations about Archbishop Theodore McCarrick. The repulsive and evil horror of these sins wounds the whole Church. I apologize for what has transpired. I must atone by committing myself to further bolster our local efforts to serve God’s people in the Diocese of Sacramento with the reverence and dignity they deserve. Those who have been harmed and betrayed often suffer for years. They most deserve this care from the Church.
These shameful events have raised questions and concerns among the faithful and the greater community. I honestly acknowledge the sins and failings of the past in Sacramento. In addition to owning and atoning for what happened in the past, together with my brother priests, I must continue to demonstrate our commitment to care for the victims and prevent these sins from happening again.
Building on the work of my predecessor Bishop Weigand, we have made strides in Sacramento over the last decade to create safe environments for the families entrusted to us. My brother priests and I must be more diligent to earn the trust you generously give to us. As your bishop, I assure you that in the Diocese of Sacramento:
- The bishop, priests, deacons, and pastoral staff take seriously all complaints of sexual misconduct.
- I have an independent review board of laity, women and men, who assist me in reviewing complaints.
- Any accusation alleging criminal activity has been and will continue to be reported to law enforcement and/or child protective services.
- All steps will be taken to protect the Faithful, especially children and young people, including fingerprinting and background checks for all clergy and laity working with minors; safe environment training for children, staff and clergy; and zero tolerance for anyone credibly accused of abusing a minor.
- Victims are provided with the pastoral care they need.
- Anyone who has a complaint of sexual misconduct by clergy is urged to call the designated hotline. The number is 866-777-9133.
Please pray for those who have suffered from sexual abuse, that they may experience God’s profound love for them and God’s healing grace.
I also ask you to pray for all my brother priests and deacons who earnestly strive to grow in holiness and serve you with devotion.
Let us keep one another in prayer. May the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Mother of Mercy intercede for us so that we may be purified by the wisdom and mercy of her Son, Jesus.
Click on the links below to read the text of Bishop Jaime Soto's letter to the faithful in English and Spanish.