Letter from the Abbot
May 1, 2013
Dear friends of Conception Abbey,
As Christians living under the monastic Rule of Saint Benedictine, the monks of Conception Abbey strongly condemn any abuse of persons -- children, young persons, or adults -- no matter where it occurs. Every person deserves to be treated with respect and dignity, and Conception Abbey is committed to protecting every person served by the works and ministries of the Abbey.
In common with other institutions of Consecrated Life, the monks of Conception Abbey are committed to providing a safe and protective environment for children, young people and adults. We always strive to ensure such an environment. We share the anguish and sadness expressed by many over instances of sexual abuse of minors perpetrated by diocesan priests, religious priests, and religious brothers and sisters. We know that those who have experienced the betrayal of sexual abuse have been deeply wounded, and the scars may last forever. We know that many in the Church who have looked to clergy and religious as servant leaders of the gospel have also experienced a great sense of loss and betrayal. Trust and confidence can be restored only over time, and with deliberate attention on the part of all to healing the pain while assuring a safe and healthy environment for those who work, serve, minister and worship in the Church.
All members of the monastic community of Conception Abbey, as well as all employees, volunteers and seminarians, are required to adhere to the Abbey's Program of Protection for Children and Other Vulnerable Persons. This Program is in force throughout Conception Abbey, and is published here for the information of our friends and other interested persons. Over the past year, Conception Abbey has been engaged in the process of accreditation of our Program of Protection with Praesidium, a national leader in abuse risk management. Praesidium has joined with the Conference of Major Superiors of Men in the United States to create standards for screening, education, response and supervision within religious communities of men. After an audit of our Program of Protection and a thorough site visit, Praesidium has given Conception Abbey’s program full accreditation for three years (until 2016).
The Program of Protection for Children and Other Vulnerable Persons is intended to help ensure a safe environment for children, adolescents and adults at Conception Abbey. By means of proper screening of candidates, ongoing education of all current members, timely and pastoral response to any and all allegations, and proper supervision of all members, our Program of Protection fosters Catholic moral values and attitudes among monks, employees, volunteers and seminarians.
We are grateful for your friendship and prayerful support. May God's grace guide us all and bring healing to those who have suffered the wounds of sexual, emotional or physical abuse.
Sincerely in Christ,
Right Rev. Gregory J. Polan, O.S.B.