Loyola University Chicago

Office of the President

archive

Statement from Dr. Rooney

STATEMENT FROM JO ANN ROONEY, PRESIDENT OF LOYOLA UNIVERSITY CHICAGO

Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report on Clerical Sexual Abuse and Cover-up

 

Like many of us, I have struggled greatly with the recent revelations in Pennsylvania, on top of years of previous reports, about clergy abuse and the actions, cover-up and betrayal by so many in leadership positions throughout the Catholic Church.

Trust has been shattered. Lives have been irreparably harmed.

As I noted in my remarks to faculty at Convocation, whether you are Catholic by faith tradition or a member of our Loyola community supporting our Jesuit Catholic mission, there are no words or statements compassionate enough to support the victims of clergy abuse. Nor are there words strong enough to condemn the actions of those abusers or the leadership that failed to take action to protect children and adults from such reprehensible acts and abuse of power. There are no sentiments angry enough to capture the call for dramatic change.

In our position as a Jesuit Catholic University, we can ensure that these acts are not tolerated in our community. We will continue to advocate and work for the changes needed.  Know, unequivocally, that within our university, within our Jesuit province and within our archdiocese, there is no tolerance for such heinous acts of abuse. If we receive any reports of such incidents, they are turned over to the civil authorities for investigation and criminal action.

At Loyola University Chicago, intolerance for such behavior is not limited to clergy. It applies to anyone and everyone who abuses positions of power to take advantage of or abuse vulnerable individuals. There is an obligation that each and every one of us has as a member of this community--that is to report any such abhorrent behavior or incidents of which you become aware.

Loyola University is committed to a respectful campus culture that has clear policies, reporting structures and clear lines of accountability for preventing and addressing all forms of abuse. Information on resources provided through Loyola’s Title IX office can be found here. In addition, the unsettling news may be especially painful for some to to process.  I encourage those who wish to talk to someone to contact the Wellness Center. There will also be opportunities in the coming year for our community to engage in discussion around these issues, such as this Hank Center program on Integrity and Accountability in the Catholic Church coming up October 11.

It is imperative that we foster a culture of respect, trust, transparency, civility and accountability in our academic community. When we find those tenets not adhered to, we are called upon to address the issues head-on.  We desire for our students a transformational education preparing them for lives of leadership and service. As such, it is incumbent upon us to be role models and hold ourselves to those unwavering standards. I encourage all to continue to engage and to listen, to discern our moral, ethical and human paths toward healing and reconciliation.