Jerry Kopacek

Jerry Kopacek

WATERLOO — The Catholic parishes in Waterloo will host a forum on the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church on Thursday.

The forum is an extension of the parishes’ Summer Forum Series and will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the Church Hall at St. Edward Parish.

Dave Cushing, director of adult faith formation for the parishes, said the forum will offer local Catholics an opportunity to express their feelings and concerns about recent reports of extensive sexual abuse in the Catholic dioceses of Pennsylvannia and allegations of abuse against a high ranking retired American cardinal.

A panel of pastoral ministers will be present to respond to participants’ concerns. The panel includes the Rev. Jerry Kopacek, Mary Pedersen, Dr. Len Froyen and Joan Hoffmann.

Although most of the incidents reported in a grand jury report took place prior to 2000, Cushing said many Catholics have grave concerns about why the abuse occurred and why it was not revealed before now.

In a recent letter to Catholics in the Archdiocese of Dubuque Archbishop Michael Jackels said he was “overwhelmed, disheartened and dismayed” by the reports and “the failure of people in charge, especially bishops, to hear accusers, to act on allegations, and to remove those who are predators from access to potential victims.”

“As a church,” the Archbishop wrote, “we are committed to do all that is humanly possible to promote healing, restore trust, and create a safe environment for children, young people, and vulnerable adults to participate in Church life. And if something falls through the cracks in spite of our commitment and efforts, we are resolved to act swiftly and resolutely to make the correction.”

Information about the forum and discussion is available on the parishes’ website at waterloocatholics.org/summer-forum-series.

Additional information and reflections about the crisis is available online at waterloocatholics.org/information-about-sexual-abuse.

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