A Letter From Fr. Matthew Robben
August 17, 2018
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I am writing this letter in response to the McCarrick and now Pennsylvania grand jury
investigation. I am angry, disappointed, and feel a sense of betrayal by our leadership. When I
was ordained to the priesthood in 2012, I understood the challenge the clergy faced in
regaining the trust of the faithful after the scandals in the early 2000s. I, like many of the lay
faithful, thought this scandal was behind us and it was a new period of renewal both for the
clergy and the Church… now I know I was wrong.
First, to all victims of sexual abuse, whether at the hands of priests and bishops or
others, my heart breaks for you. Victims of sexual abuse often have feelings of shame, isolation,
and low self-esteem. Remember, you are a victim and are not alone! You deserved better and
the abuse you suffered does not define the person God created you to be. Know that God loves
you unconditionally and seeks to bring you healing and peace.
The greatest joy for me as a priest is the ability to bring the love and mercy of Jesus
Christ to the people of God in their greatest need. This is what the lay faithful count on from
priests as they attempt to grow in holiness in an ever increasingly secular world. Sexual abuse
by clergy not only breaks this sacred trust but inflicts great evil to the victim and the Body of
Christ. The thought that some bishops not only covered up the abuse but were perpetrators
themselves is not only disheartening, but a betrayal of their priestly vocation.
This most recent scandal is clear evidence that we, the Church, have forgotten that we
are called to “be in the world, not of the world.” (John 17:14-19) We have allowed the culture
to enter the social structure of the Church all the way to our leadership instead of the Church
entering the culture.
As we attempt to move forward, this must change. The recent call by the
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops for a Vatican and lay led visitation and
investigation, is a good first step to making sure that we can address the wrongs of the past so
as to prevent such evil in the future.
Darkness never triumphs and evil never wins! God conquers all evil! As we attempt to
move forward, please pray for everyone involved, the victims of sexual abuse, bishops, priests,
and even those who committed these heinous crimes. Through prayer, penance, and a re-
dedication to the universal call to holiness, we can reclaim the rightful place of Christ in our
culture and our lives. When we believe we can become Saints, society will believe too! Our Lady
of the Sacred Heart and Saints Peter and Paul…pray for us!