Statement regarding allegations concerning Archbishop McCarrick

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The past several weeks have been extremely painful for the church as allegations have been brought forward concerning decades-long misconduct and the abuse of power perpetrated on the innocent, on seminarians, and on priests by Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, archbishop emeritus of Washington, D.C.

These allegations, coupled with the apparent unwillingness of others in episcopal leadership to report or call out such behavior as criminal and as inconsistent with the life and ministry of the bishops of the Church leave so many understandably angry, mistrusting, and scandalized. I share those same feelings.

Words are cheap, but all one can truly say is that the people of God deserve better than this. These scandalous events and their apparent cover-up demand a complete and transparent investigation as well as a purification of the leadership of the Church, leading to a true conversion of heart at the highest levels of the Church. I anticipate that we bishops will be discussing these matters at great length in our November Plenary Assembly in Baltimore, charting a path forward to greater integrity as bishops.

Let me say without hesitation, that I will continue my commitment to you as your bishop that every instance of an allegation of sexual abuse of minors by anyone representing the church be they bishop, priest, or laity will be addressed professionally, transparently, fairly, and thoroughly according to the norms of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, so the light of truth will shine on this dark and painful wound in the Church and in the world.

No bishop should have ever considered himself exempt from this all important effort. I have and will continue to bring every matter of this nature to the Review Board of our diocese for their wise and prudent consultation, observing all the norms of the Charter. If an allegation were ever to be lodged against me, I would immediately recuse myself, step down from ministry, and allow the process to go forward without delay or interference. I am appalled that some bishops considered themselves immune from such scrutiny. The integrity and authenticity of our leadership demands this. None of us have a right to this ministry; we must exercise it with obedience, diligence and humility.

Join me in praying for the purification of our leadership, for those who have been victimized by this horrendous display of sinful and criminal behavior and for those for whom old wounds have now been reopened and painful memories have been revisited. I humbly beg your prayers for me and for our priests so that we, though weak sinners, will offer you the pastoral leadership you so much deserve. Thank you for reading my simple thoughts, for they come from my heart.

God bless you and God bless the Diocese of Wichita.

Bishop Carl Kemme