From staff reports
The Most Rev. Lawrence T. Persico, bishop of the Erie Catholic Diocese, is featured on the cover of the summer 2019 edition of Content Evangelist, a national publication created for top leadership in the Catholic Church.
The publication’s headline poses the question: “How can we help heal our wounded church?”
The headline refers to the clergy sexual abuse scandal that engulfed the Erie Diocese and other dioceses in Pennsylvania over the past year. Priests in many other states have been identified in allegations.
O’Brien notes that Persico is highly regarded for his response to victims, parishioners and the public.
“Bishop Persico did not blame others, become defensive or retreat into denial,” O’Brien says. “He knew that would prevent the church from our ultimate aim – to lead others to Christ.”
In the cover story, Persico discusses how his thinking evolved as he prepared to release the names of people with credible allegations against them. He points to accepting responsibility for keeping the community informed, as well as to the gratitude and validation survivors have expressed to him.
“The sexual abuse situation gave Bishop Persico the opportunity to dig into himself and weather through it,” says Deacon Marty Eisert, who continues to serve as chair of the Erie Diocese’s pastoral planning effort. “In doing so, his leadership abilities blossomed in new ways. We need his type of leadership in the church.”
“Trust has been seriously fractured,” he says. “We will be judged on our actions more than our words. But the words we choose to keep people informed about our actions will help facilitate the trust we need to rebuild.”
The issue can be found at faithdigital.org/ContentEvangelist.