Storm of reck­on­ing

The Taos News - - PEOPLE TO WATCH -

Last year, New Mex­ico faced its his­tory of Catholic pri­ests sex­ual abuse in two ma­jor ways: the at­tor­ney gen­eral launched a sweep­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the Arch­dio­cese of Santa Fe, and in short or­der, the arch­dio­cese filed for bank­ruptcy. Af­ter more than two decades of slow­burn­ing jus­tice and heal­ing, 2019 prom­ises a storm of a reck­on­ing. The church is co­op­er­at­ing with the at­tor­ney gen­eral’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion, which will likely lead to a more com­pre­hen­sive ac­count of what type and ex­tent of abuse took place in New Mex­ico through­out the 20th cen­tury. Arch­bishop John C. Wester, shown here pray­ing with a group gath­ered in 2018 out­side the state cap­i­tal, has said he’s com­mit­ted to work­ing with the state and vic­tims.

As for the bank­ruptcy pro­ceed­ings, the first half of 2019 will mean a chance for po­ten­tial claimants to come for­ward. The church has promised to com­mu­ni­cate with the pub­lic through­out the fi­nan­cial re­struc­tur­ing. They even have a page on their web­site ded­i­cated to it: arch­diosf.org/re­or­ga­ni­za­tion.

At the same time, the sex­ual abuse cri­sis is also rat­tling the very top ech­e­lon of the Catholic Church in Rome and among bish­ops in the United States. Changes to the largest re­li­gious or­ga­ni­za­tion in the world in 2019 is al­ready com­ing from all di­rec­tions: from the in­side, from states like New Mex­ico, and from vic­tims who de­mand jus­tice.

Gabriela Cam­pos/The New Mex­i­can

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