An important part of the Church’s response to the clergy sexual abuse crisis is to provide spiritual accompaniment and healing for victims. The diocese has for several years offered victims counseling, retreats and, in some cases, financial compensation. A Mass of Intention for victims of sexual abuse is a way to hold them in prayer and honor them in Catholic liturgy, said Bishop Barnes.
“We want those who have suffered abuse at the hands of the Church or of anyone else in society to know that we continue to walk with them as we look for healing in the Lord Jesus,” Bishop Barnes said. “In this monthly Mass we commend our brothers and sisters to the Lord’s healing.”
Masses at the Diocesan Pastoral Center are open to anyone who wants to attend. The Mass of Intention for Victims of Sexual Abuse is not considered to be a diocesan Mass, such as the Chrism Mass, Migration Mass or any other in which attendance from the wider Catholic community is sought.
Since the sexual abuse crisis came to public attention in 2002 the diocese has put in place a multi-faceted program to address the issue that includes fingerprinting and criminal background checks to ensure a safe environment for children; training and education on the issue of sexual abuse for clergy, lay employees and volunteer ministers, parents and children; and monthly “Restoring – Me” retreats for victims of sexual abuse. These initiatives have helped the diocese to remain in compliance with United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People in several audits. In 2007, the diocese paid an $18.2 million settlement to 19 victims of sexual abuse as part of a global settlement of the Diocese of San Diego.
“Let us do the work of healing and reconciliation for those lost sheep who have been hurt by this terrible sin,” Bishop Barnes said in a Pastoral Letter on the subject last year.