Twin Cities Catholics join national movement to end clergy sexual abuse, cover-ups

| August 28, 2018 | 0 Comments

Catholics gathered in front of the Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul Aug. 26 for a prayer service with #CatholicsForAction in response to the clergy abuse scandal cover up. Matthew Davis/The Catholic Spirit

About 20 Catholics gathered on the steps of the Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul following Mass Aug. 26 to pray in response to the clergy sex abuse scandal. The prayer service was part of a national call-to-action from the newly formed group, #CatholicsForAction.

Attendees listened to readings, prayed intercessions and sang a hymn composed for the prayer service to pray and take action to correct the failures of Church leadership in protecting children. They also heard a statement from a member of the Twin Cities sexual abuse survivor community.

Chicago-area Catholic Adrienne Alexander, 32, organized #CatholicsForAction — whose name includes the social media-friendly hashtag — after the Aug. 14 Pennsylvania grand jury report detailing alleged abuse of than 1,000 children by more than 300 clergy in six dioceses.

Prayer services led by local #CatholicsForAction organizers were held Aug. 26 in Boston; Chicago; Philadelphia; St. Louis;  Naperville, Illinois; South Bend, Indiana; and Washington, D.C.

“It’s ultimately a group of Catholics who realize that the promises of transparency and accountability that we keep hearing go unfulfilled,” Jessica Nickrand, 31, a parishioner of St. Peter Claver in St. Paul and a local #CatholicsForAction organizer, said of the organization.

Nickrand and Katharine Gordon, a former Jesuit Volunteer Corps volunteer who recently moved to the Twin Cities, organized a Facebook group to advertise the local event. They encouraged attendees to stand up for abuse survivors and call for Church leadership accountability.

“While prayer is the focus on Sunday, the hope is that this is part of a broader movement that continues,” Nickrand said of #CatholicsForAction. “I hope that [the Church] can be better, and I hope that the Church can be one, as Christ has promised us, and that we’ll continue to meet, and that we’ll continue to hopefully work toward changes in our Church.”

Nickrand and Gordon said they are aware of progress the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has made in addressing clergy sexual abuse, and they see a local #CatholicsForAction group as a support to the national movement’s efforts to hold all U.S. dioceses accountable.

Event attendee David Luiken hopes to get more involved. He described recent sexual abuse revelations “very disheartening as a Catholic.”

“It was actually my choice to become Catholic,” said Luiken, a parishioner of St. Joseph in New Hope and elementary school teacher who joined the Church five years ago. “That’s even a little more discouraging as a new Catholic to see these things in the news about the Church.”

He added: “It’s not going to change unless people stand up and have their voices heard.”

Six days before the #CatholicsForAction event, about 120 Catholics attended a candlelight vigil on the Cathedral steps to pray for the Church and sexual abuse survivors.

Tags: , ,

Category: Featured, Local News