By Helen Stevenson
In a statement made by Joseph M. McShane, S.J., university president, the administration has reversed its decision to bar student volunteering in Murray-Weigel Hall.
McShane said he made this decision based on the assurance that all Jesuits living in Murray-Weigel are not “restricted”, and therefore completely free and innocent of any accusations of abuse.
McShane also confirmed there will be no restricted Jesuits living in Murray-Weigel in the future.
“Upon his return from a pastoral visit to the members of the Province assigned to schools and parishes in Micronesia, Fr. John Cecero, S.J., the Provincial Superior of the USA Northeast Province, acceded to my request that no restricted Jesuits be assigned to the Murray Weigel Hall Community for any reason for any period of time in the future,” he said.
McShane said he asked Rev. Michael McCarthy, S.J, vice president for Mission Integration and Planning, and Rev. Lito Salazar, S.J., executive director of Campus Ministry, and Jeffrey Gray, the senior vice president for Student Affairs, to inform student volunteers that they may resume service immediately.
Additionally, McShane said that the men living in Murray Weigel will now have “the freedom of the campus.”
“That is to say, they are completely free to walk on the campus, to celebrate Mass in the University’s chapels and to hear confessions on the campus,” he said.
Salazar said that the decision to reinstate the volunteer program and allow Murray-Weigel’s residents’ access to the university campus will help to heal in the wake of clerical abuse allegations.
“While this resumption of ties and the assurances of safety for our students may not ‘solve’ the underlying abuse scandal in the Church, they contribute to its healing in a small way, like the soft light of one candle in the surrounding gloom,” he said.
McShane said that the university’s main concern remains victims and survivors of clerical abuse.
“They have suffered much at the hands of priests whom they trusted and who took advantage of them,” said McShane. “They have shown remarkable courage in speaking out. Let us continue to pray for them.”