Bishop's Statement 8-22-2018

To Priests and Deacons, Diocese of Pueblo
From Bishop Stephen Berg
August 22, 2018

Dear Brothers in Christ:

I wish to thank all who have worked hard over years to ensure that the message of the Gospel is proclaimed in a safe environment for children, young people, and throughout the parishes in our Diocese. We know that our Church is now entering into another painful period of private and public censure, contrition and prayer. The victims are not only the abused children hidden away for years, they are also the faithful among us who have been wounded by revelations of the failure to follow the Charter at the highest levels of our Church leadership. I am so sorry that this has happened.

The anger, outrage and sadness now being expressed are completely, authentically, and morally justified. The cries of betrayal and broken trust must be heard, shared and responded to by our Church leadership. There is no easy way out, nor shortcut around this appalling situation.

The continuing, damaging effects of the scandal, projected forward into the future, however, must also be assessed. Those effects may lead some beyond shock and anger to discouragement or apathy. That discouragement or apathy, Brothers, will not be from God. We are all still called to live and proclaim the Gospel in its entirety. It is not enough to say that we are angry or contrite. We must do something concrete.

We are called ever more profoundly into the mission of Christ. We have labored in our Diocese to lay out our hopes, our plans, and our mission into the future. We have been generously blessed with the response of our people to our labors. We have suddenly been given a blessing to be part of the solution in leadership of our local Church. The grace of the Sacraments and the Gospel we preach come from Christ. Our incentive now is to speak clearly and to articulate our mission. This is the time to move forward and act. We move to our goals in the mission of Jesus!

Our call to leadership can only be received and then promulgated through our own conviction, our own personal conversion into simplicity and purity of heart, through the Cross of Jesus. That is what our Church needs and what Christ requires from us. We have a way, “The Way,” before us. This is in fact, “What We Have Signed Up For.”

We shall become The Diocese of The Little Way. Through these dark times we have been given a simple message, to grow in little ways, for the little ones, and to do powerful things for the Kingdom of God. Never to ignore or avoid the Cross, but to embrace it in The Little Way as was taught by the life of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, and as was embraced and completely lived by Our Mother, Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Mother of All Little Ones, the Queen of Heaven. Both patronesses of our Diocese, and both with us from the beginning. And to evangelize, to bring the message of the Gospel into our world.

Tomorrow we will inform the faithful about more of this exciting news. I ask for your prayers tonight, for all victims, for our Church, and for our future. I pray for you as you hear the heartbreaking concerns of our people, and I ask you to turn yourselves fully to our labor ahead. We shall bring the Good News of Jesus forward, in our own Little Way in Southern Colorado. Our direction has been granted in grace and this is our plan, our mission and our future!

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Stephen J. Berg, D.D.
Bishop of Pueblo