Dear Ms. _____,
My apology for the length of time this response has taken. I have been out of the office for the last several weeks.
I deeply regret your own injury by sexual misconduct in this Church and the response thereto. I am very much aware of how deep the pain and how difficult healing can be. As Christians and Episcopalians, we seek healing for the whole creation and we also continue to fall far short of God’s dream for that healing.
I will have a conversation with Bishop Whalon, and hope that he will respond constructively to your request. In regard to your second request, the Title IV process is under review, and I hope that the next General Convention will attend to some needed revisions.
May you know God’s healing grace in your own life, and continue to be a minister of healing for others. I remain
Your servant in Christ,
Katharine Jefferts Schori
What makes Bishop Katharine’s letter so remarkable? To heal from clergy sexual abuse, victims need to be heard and believed. We need our pain acknowledged, we need compassionate care, and we need to know that other vulnerable people will be protected. Most of all, we need to be vindicated, cleared of the cloud of accusation and innuendo, and held blameless for the abuse we suffered. For me, Bishop Katharine’s letter rings every one of those bells. And she makes no excuses; she simply expresses sorrow for the pain of this one victim. Do you know how seldom a religious leader responds with this much grace? My friend “Jane,” a survivor from another mainstream denomination, shook her head in wonder and said, “This just doesn’t happen.”
Well, now it has. I’m profoundly grateful on my own account, and I’m more hopeful for the Episcopal Church than I have been for a long time. I pray that Bishop Katharine will have the impact she hopes for. I will eagerly follow both stories, and I’ll share important developments here.