Welcome to the Blessed Sacrament parish virtual town hall.

The Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament church is using the tool IdeaScale to facilitate engagement with our parish and school community in light of the sex abuse crises in the Church. This website serves as a virtual town hall* for our parish community and a platform to have our collective voices be heard by our Church leaders.

Parish leadership invites Blessed Sacrament parishioners and school parents to use this platform to submit their ideas, comments or questions on the Church crisis. You can also vote to agree with or disagree with the entries of other community members. The purpose of this virtual town hall is to gather information and sentiment on this critical topic among our community members. This way our parish leaders can better address them through actions and communications within our parish's control. The virtual town hall is open until November 1st.

How to participate:

• Create an IdeaScale account. This only requires an email address.

• We encourage transparency in this community. Please note that the name and username registered to your account will be posted with your submissions unless you choose the option to submit an idea anonymously. Email addresses will be visible to site administrators**, but not in association with ideas posted anonymously.

• Click the Submit New Idea button at the top of the navigation sidebar.

• Please use respectful language in your submission, otherwise the moderator may delete your entry.

• You will have the option to add tags to the idea, comment, or question. These tags represent key themes that emerged from the live parish town hall on September 16th. These tags help people search comments related to their interests.

• If you would like to see all ideas, comments or questions created with a specific tag, you can click on the word or phrase via the tag cloud in the navigation sidebar area under "What we're discussing". (The order of tags in the tag cloud is randomly generated by IdeaScale, it does not imply priority.) Click the Ideas link at the top of the page to see all ideas.

• You can vote, but not comment on other entries. To vote on an entry, look to the right of the idea title/description and simply click the up arrow to agree or down arrow to disagree.

Next Steps:

After November 1st, a team of lay parishioners and parish staff will analyze the information gathered in this website and prioritize the issues to address in parish actions and communications. The information collected also will be shared with the Archdiocese and the Bishops Conference.

*Please note that a summary of the Sept. 16th live town hall is accessible by clicking the link in the footer of this page.

**Administrators and moderators of this site include parish volunteers. Contact blessedsacramentmoderator@gmail.com for assistance on this website. All other requests should be directed to parish staff emails.

Blessed Sacrament Virtual Town Hall

Submitted by

There Must Be Reform

Thank you for this opportunity. We appreciate it and are praying with you for our Church. Please know that the below is what we originally intended to submit with some additions inspired by comments previously submitted by others. To start, we are not Catholic out of obligation or tradition. We choose to live our faith because we believe in the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist and His saving power. Even ...more »

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Blessed Sacrament Virtual Town Hall

Submitted by (@petermharrington600)

The Church Must Empower Women

The Church must find ways to empower women and empower lay people in general. In terms of women, in the past, American religious women, e.g. Elizabeth Seton, Katherine Drexel, etc., successfully founded hospitals, schools, colleges, and other institutions, in part because they were able to act independently of the bishops. American Church history resounds with tales of powerful and arrogant diocesan bishops who, despite ...more »

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8 votes
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Blessed Sacrament Virtual Town Hall

Submitted by (@maryanneskane)

Structural Change Is Needed to Include Laity in Decision-making

i reviewed comments submitted by Jim Zogby and Dave Byers, and i agree wholeheartedly with their analyses of the problem and their proposed solutions. It is time to make the changes needed in decision-making at the Archdiocesan level to include lay voices. Such changes should be formal ones to provide important information to the Archdiocese and to provide lay members with a meaningful role in decisions. Such changes ...more »

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9 votes
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Blessed Sacrament Virtual Town Hall

Submitted by (@jbk560)

Stand on Principle, not Principal

I sent an e-mail to Father Alec on August 19 regarding this issue, which follows. But I have, just now, faithfully read and considered 44 well-articulated and well-meaning contributions from my fellow petitioners, whom I thank. I have offered my ratification, refutation or abstinence with careful consideration and am in awe of the breadth of this discourse. But the thoughts I penned to Fr. Alec still stand apart, perhaps ...more »

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Blessed Sacrament Virtual Town Hall

Submitted by (@jameszogby)

The church is bleeding

One hard truth we must face is that the church is bleeding. Even before the revelations from PA and our own archdiocese, young people have been abandoning the church or becoming Catholics-in-name-only. They have been turned off by the churches inflexibility, it's obsession with issues of sex, the marginalization of women, & rejection of gay Catholics. The current crisis has only served to accelerate this. Some have ...more »

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Blessed Sacrament Virtual Town Hall

Submitted by (@jameszogby)

What we do at Blessed Sacrament can have an outsized impact

Some parishioners, though deeply troubled by this crisis in the church, have expressed a feeling of powerlessness saying "it's bigger than anything we can solve here at Blessed Sacrament " or "the problems in the church won't change." The challenge is great, but we shouldn't underestimate our capacity to to impact the broader church. Blessed Sacrament is an influential parish at the heart of an important diocese. What ...more »

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13 votes
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Blessed Sacrament Virtual Town Hall

Submitted by (@dbyers4)

Background: The USCCB and the Sex Abuse Crisis in the 1990s

I copy below an article I just submitted for publication. It is based on the minutes of USCCB plenary meetings in the years leading up to adoption of the 2002 Charter on the Protection of Children and Young People. The article analyses the bishops' unsuccessful efforts to deal with the then-emerging crisis, and suggests a way of dealing with the somewhat different situation the Church faces today. A BRIDGEABLE GULF? ...more »

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7 votes
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Blessed Sacrament Virtual Town Hall

Submitted by (@fraas0)

Part 2 Ideas to reclaim our baptismal identity--see previous

Short term: Cardinal Wuerl must leave the archdiocese now. He cannot have any say in picking his successor.Medium term: 1 Return the female theologians to seminaries who were forced out under Pope John Paul II. 2, Do not isolate seminarians from family life.3Petition the current commission on restoring the female diaconate to finish its work, and ordain women deacons 4The USCCB should require that all dioceses open their ...more »

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Blessed Sacrament Virtual Town Hall

Submitted by (@fraas0)

A plan to reclaim our baptismal identity--Part I

Part I As Christians, we are called by our baptism to be priest, prophet and king. As laypeople, and especially as women, we have been denied this right, this call. We need to throw open the doors of the church once more--Vatican II is all but forgotten in the daily life of the church. Bishops are abusing their power as shepherds of the church--they are not protecting--they are enabling. The power structure as it stands ...more »

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10 votes
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Blessed Sacrament Virtual Town Hall

Submitted by (@jeanettepablo)

Is this the church that Jesus created?

In 1992, I was on a team representing the survivors of abuse by Catholic priests in the Boston Archdiocese where Cardinal Bernard Law knew of the abuse and sheltered these priests who sexually abused children and teens over decades. We sought a change to the statute of limitations for child sexual assault that, generally speaking, at the time was five years after the crime was committed. I learned a lot from working with ...more »

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10 votes
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Blessed Sacrament Virtual Town Hall

Submitted by (@murrayerceg)

Demand more Lay Leadership and Power

Beginning with our parish, provide more lay leadership at every level. Ultimately, if the power dynamic in the Church were right-sided, lay leaders should have a say in who is elevated in the church. Currently Archbishop Wuerl will play an out-sized role in naming his successor and that makes no sense.

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Blessed Sacrament Virtual Town Hall

Submitted by (@murrayerceg)

Protect our children

A school parent and former FBI agent with expertise in child abuse raised at the townhall that the VIRTUS training required by the school is inadequate. Her VIRTUS trainer, for example, directed the group to contact the parish and not the police if they suspect abuse. What are we doing to ensure that our parish is implementing best practices when it comes to protecting our children from abuse?

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Blessed Sacrament Virtual Town Hall

Submitted by (@golf4fun)

Transparency, accountability and forgiveness

To move the Church forward it is time that all cases of child abuse be exposed so that the victims of these crimes and the perpetrators can reconcile no matter how difficult this may be. It is possible that years ago the religious committed these terrible and unforgivable offenses against children but didn't fully understand that this was a mental disorder and a crime rather than assuming it was a mortal sin. If this ...more »

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2 votes
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Blessed Sacrament Virtual Town Hall

Submitted by (@cbk53wbk)

Clericalism and Elitism in the Church

To correct clericalism and elitism in the Church, which according to Pope Francis, is at the heart of the abuse perpetrated by the Catholic clergy (including the behavior of the Bishops), there is a need to change rules and organizations that were established to deal with a vastly different time in history. In that regard, Google: "Is New Life Ahead in the Church?" by Sister Ilia Delio.

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Blessed Sacrament Virtual Town Hall

Submitted by (@jameszogby)

An important and illuminating parish conversation.

I have read all of the comments and find the discussion as illuminating as the conversation we had at our parish town hall. At that town hall, our Blessed Sacrament Christian Family Movement group distributed a statement "The Laity Are Called to Action". I'm attaching it here for those who didn't receive it. In our statement we call for greater transparency and accountability. Because they put protecting the institution ...more »

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9 votes
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Blessed Sacrament Virtual Town Hall

Submitted by

Comprehensive Resource Needed

One resource that is sorely needed – particularly today – is a publicly searchable database containing the names of all priests (past and present) of the Archdiocese of Washington, the parishes to which they are currently assigned and have been assigned in the past, and the dates of those assignments. If such a database exists, I have not been able to locate it. In the absence of such a comprehensive resource, one thing ...more »

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13 votes
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Blessed Sacrament Virtual Town Hall

Submitted by (@ejayes1)

Transparency, needed reforms

Every archdiocese in the country should open their records and allow for an independent investigation of reported sexual abuse crimes. Settlements , lawsuits, and the disposition of cases should be made public. The statute of limitations on sexual abuse crimes should be lifted. I do not believe the investigation of crimes of sexual abuse can be credibly accomplished by the church hierarchy. They have demonstrated ...more »

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16 votes
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Blessed Sacrament Virtual Town Hall

Submitted by (@jeankennedy)

Jesus' Apostles (priests?)

Jesus chose 12 ordinary men with wives & children. Jesus never spoke about celibacy - abortion, contraception, homosexuality. Just "Love God. love neighbor". Our church is all about issues of sex. The church in first 4 centuries flourished with normal men and women as disciples. He had always had women close in his circle and never said they were less. Treated them equal in his love. Praised Mary over Martha. ...more »

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19 votes
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Blessed Sacrament Virtual Town Hall

Submitted by (@kredpathbeal)

LANGUAGE

Remove the word "men" from the phrase in the creed that says "for us men and our salvation. The writer knows that the word "men" means all humankind in literary and Biblical language. In present day parlance, however, it is important to simply say"for us and our salvation". The American Episcopal Church which shares with us our liturgical rotation of readings as well as most liturgical wordings in the Mass dropped the ...more »

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16 votes
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Blessed Sacrament Virtual Town Hall

Submitted by (@kredpathbeal)

TRANSPARENCY

Call for transparency at all levels of the Roman Catholic Church from the Holy Father down to parish level for the last fifty years. Rescind. and stop the the statute of limitations for criminal acts of child abuse and sexual abuse of adults.

Stop

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