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July 30, 2018

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

If you love the Catholic Church as much as I do, then you, too, must be sadly overwhelmed
regarding the horrifying revelation of the credible and substantial accusations of sexual
misconduct by the retired Archbishop Theodore McCarrick from Washington, DC. On July 28,
Pope Francis accepted McCarrick’s resignation which stripped him of the title “Cardinal”. This
disciplinary action on the part of the pope has not been done in over 100 years. In addition, Pope
Francis applied a suspension which, according to Canon 1333 in the Code of Canon Law,
prohibits him from the exercise of the rights or functions attached to his office. The pope also
directed McCarrick, who is 88, to observe “a life of prayer and penance in seclusion” until the
end of the canonical process.

This decision of the Holy Father reflects the priority Pope Francis places on the need for
protection and care for all our people and the failures in this area that affect the life of the Church
in the United States. The Vatican’s decision to suspend McCarrick follows more than a month of
unfolding allegations concerning the prelate.

Once again, the Church is brought to her knees to ask for forgiveness from the victims who have
been subjected to these hideous crimes on the part of Church leaders. We are called upon again
to pray for the victims who are suffering as a result of an abuse of power on the part of a minister
of the Church

I agree with Cardinal Sean O’Malley, archbishop of Boston, who stated that “the Church needs
to respond with more than apologies to sexual misconduct cases. It identifies a major gap in
Church procedures for handling accusations against bishops.”

It is clear that the Church needs a strong and comprehensive policy to address bishops’ violations
of vows of celibacy in cases of the criminal abuse of minors and in cases involving adults.

I asked the Catholics of the Diocese of Savannah to pray for victims of sexual misconduct and to
report to law enforcement agencies of any suspicious behavior on the part of priests, deacons,
seminarians, religious men and women, lay ministers and volunteers.

I am grateful to Joan Altmeyer from our Office for the Safe Protection of Children for overseeing
the thousands of employees and volunteers in our diocese who receive regular training and
background checks to insure that our children, in church related activities, are always in a safe
environment while in our care.

We pray for healing and forgiveness.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Gregory J. Hartmayer, OFM Conv.