Statement from Father Dale to Community of SFX


In this weekend’s bulletin you will have found a copy of a letter from Archbishop Kurtz to all of us about the recent sins and crimes caused by some within our Catholic Church. Between the dismay of a Catholic Cardinal with decades-old sin of hurting young people and exploiting his trusted role in our church AS WELL AS the in-depth report on the total lack of prudence and judgement on the part of bishops and priests in Pennsylvania; I wish to express briefly my dismay and anger over the immoral behavior of adult church men and women, not only highlighted recently, but since 2002 when God’s Truth broke through lies and deceit and evil.

In 2002, I was chancellor of the archdiocese and I, like most of you, would hear daily of the accusations and the sins of our local priests and religious … each one was, much more than a slap in the face, but a punch in the gut. Those things affected so many people in so many sad ways. It did me. Those revelations caused Archbishop Kelly to assign me to Saint Leonard Church as pastor because my predecessor was accused of abuse of young people. I remember clearly my first weekend at that parish when I had to offer some kind of hope to, not only to myself, but to that faith family who, also, were in disbelief of what they were hearing…

All that has come to light recently has drawn me back to those very dark days of sin, crime and disbelief. It made me so angry and disheartened when I would think of the trust broken between priest and any faithful follower of Jesus. Like the name of our parish newsletter (which brings Good News of the Gospel to the reader), what I believe is that our Catholic Church is at a Crossroads. What our future will be depends on our ability to pray (using our own words, to admonish the sinner, to purge those persons whose God’s Truth exposes. It is God first who decides what direction we take at the crossroads our church’s future. Some innocent children, young people and even other adults have been hurt by someone who works for the Lord’s church. What I do know is that when a man is ordained a deacon, a priest or a bishop; he is no longer his ‘own’ He is God’s voice and hands…. reaching, preaching, teaching, praying and consoling in the name of Jesus who sent him. When these things break down, there is a price to pay. There is no greater responsibility and/or burden placed on a human being. Ultimately, each of us has a choice to make…

……….step-up in living the truth or step-away and live in fear.

As God as my witness, I am sorry for what evil does to the believer. Each of us must be a prophet and continue to call the leaders in our church to a greater accountability – the kind where the institutional authorities must do penance and seek forgiveness, not only from the victims of abuse, but seek forgiveness from the victims hurt by having the TRUTH and JUSTICE denied them.

There is hope… there is always hope… Hope is of God.

Father Dale Cieslik


Posted: August 26, 2018