More than three decades ago when Saint John's Abbey first learned of allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior by some of our monks, emotions within the community ranged from shock, rage and bewilderment to immense pain and embarrassment. This community and I share a deep compassion and concern for those persons who were victims and are now survivors.
As a community we hold any form of sexual abuse or sexual exploitation to be morally reprehensible and a violation of our vow to a celibate and chaste life committed to mutual respect among all persons. This commitment was central to our task as we acted quickly to develop policies and procedures to respond responsibly in a manner that included a pastoral focus.
I believe we have been faithful over the years in our determination to do all we can to help survivors of abuse to achieve healing and reconciliation. Some have suggested that we turn the page, move ahead and not look back. While we are determined to move ahead, we know that we must also continue to look back. Sinful things happened in our midst and people were profoundly hurt. It is not enough simply to acknowledge what occurred as a result of our flawed human nature, or as a reminder of our frailty and vulnerability. We will continue to address the wrongs that were done.
Life, work and prayer continue at the Abbey. As we pursue important work in many areas, I am determined that this ugly stain become a permanent part of our collective memory so that we are ever mindful of our commitment to do everything possible to assure that the mistakes of the past are not repeated. We will continue to learn from our experience and use that learning for healing, renewal and reconciliation. We must continue to do all we can for survivors of abuse by Saint John's monks even as we deal with our own healing.
This section of the Abbey's website continues our commitment to honesty and transparency. I invite all visitors to these pages to join the monastic community in its continuing prayers for all survivors of sexual abuse.
+Abbot John Klassen, O.S.B.