Message From President Boroughs to the College Community

The recent report of the Pennsylvania grand jury on clerical sexual abuse is staggering both in its content and in the numbers of victims and perpetrators recorded. The pain and hurt inflicted on children over decades, the lives of hundreds of individuals and families severely affected for their lifetimes, and the cover-ups which failed to protect these children and end this sinful behavior are appalling and overwhelming.

As a Catholic, and particularly as a priest, I find the cumulative effect of this report, along with many others before it, extremely shocking and abhorrent. I continue to believe that God’s compassionate love for us and the healing power of Jesus’ mercy will bring us through this difficult time, but not before we as a Church honestly and persistently deal with the culture which allowed the abuse of children, as well as other members of the faith community, to continue. While reports such as the one from the state of Pennsylvania are incredibly difficult to read and acknowledge, they and others like them are necessary if we are to own the sin committed in our communities, address the suffering and trauma it has caused, work to bring healing and justice to its victims, and radically change the culture which permitted and protected it.

This unsettling news may be difficult to process and members of our community might be interested in having someone to talk to as they work through these difficult topics. For that reason, I want to encourage those in pain to contact the Office of College Chaplains or the Counseling Center. Holy Cross is also committed to a respectful campus culture that has clear policies, reporting structures and clear lines of accountability for preventing and addressing all forms of abuse. Information on the College’s sexual respect and Title IX office can be found at:

As a community of faith we also need to reflect together on the effects of this violence on our religious identity and experience. With the new academic year, the  Chaplains’ Office will offer a variety of opportunities for different constituencies within our faith community to come together and share our concerns, to acknowledge and address the challenges we are facing as Catholics and as members of other religious traditions, and to discern what we must do to respond to this crisis here on our campus and beyond it in our larger faith community.

— Rev. Philip L. Boroughs, S.J., President