In recent weeks, disturbing information has come to light about liturgical composer Davis Haas. Mr. Haas is the composer of a number of songs used frequently in liturgies in a great many dioceses, including the Diocese of Sacramento.
Mr. Haas has been accused of multiple instances of sexual abuse of young adult women and of using his professional standing to coerce women into sexual activity and exploit the vulnerability of women who previously have experienced abuse.
As the news of the allegations has spread, more accusers have come forward to describe extremely troubling actions and trauma. Mr. Haas’ publishing company has severed ties with him, and his home Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis has prohibited concerts by Mr. Haas, appearances at diocesan events and the use of his music in archdiocesan liturgies. Other dioceses, including Los Angeles and San Jose, have taken similar actions.
At this time, we are not aware of any incidents or allegations in our diocese, although we are aware of a performance here as recently as 2011. We encourage anyone with information about this or other events to contact our Victim Assistance Coordinator at 866-777-9133.
Existing protocols already prohibit anyone outside the diocese from speaking here without proof of good standing from their bishop. We believe our responsibility to the victim-survivors of sexual abuse requires us to take further action as well. We have informed each of our pastors and liturgical directors of the allegations against Mr. Haas and are suspending the use of his songs pending the outcome of the various investigations underway.
We have heard from victims’ advocates of the pain felt by victim-survivors upon hearing Mr. Haas’ music in a sacred setting, and we believe it is right to spare them this suffering. Indeed, for anyone who is aware of these allegations, the singing of these songs will never be the same.
Our Victim Assistance Coordinator stands ready to provide whatever support and resources we can to the victims of sexual abuse. We encourage anyone with information related to the allegations against Mr. Haas, particularly those with knowledge of any incidents that may have occurred in our diocese, to contact Victim Assistance at 866-777-9133.
Recent statements on the allegations against Mr. Haas can be seen on the website of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis.