Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted and the Diocese of Phoenix launched a new website this month to help local Catholics share their thoughts about the scandals surrounding the Church and what they think its impact has been on their faith.
The new website — fidelity.dphx.org — comes on the heels of allegations against Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick and the alleged cover-ups exposed by a Pennsylvania Grand Jury report regarding dioceses in that state.
The website includes a video of Bishop Olmsted telling Catholics, “Please know that you are not alone. I share in your sorrow and anger.” He calls on viewers to keep their eyes “fixed on Jesus, our Savior and Lord.”
The website features a questionnaire Catholics in the diocese are asked to complete regarding the scandals and how it has affected them. There are also questions that ask for feedback on how well the Diocese of Phoenix and the “leadership in Rome is responding to the current Church situation.”
In the video, Bishop Olmsted states he will be using responses to the questionnaire in his discernment and sharing them with his brother bishops.
“Your honest responses are encouraged,” Bishop Olmsted says in the video.
Fidelity.dphx.org also features a list of frequently asked questions with information-packed responses on such thorny issues as whether funds from the Charity and Development Appeal or the “Together Let Us Go Forth ~ Juntos Sigamos Adelante” Campaign are used in lawsuit payouts to clergy-sex abuse victims — they are not. “Bishop Olmsted has gone to great lengths to ensure that the funds raised will be used exclusively for the campaign case components,” the website states, referring to the Together campaign.
Since some of the abuse allegations in the scandal involve conduct at seminary, the new website addresses accountability during priestly formation. The problems that developed at seminaries during the last 30 years can be traced to the sexual revolution, a complacent Church, poor screening of candidates and theological confusion, the website states. Today, men go through a thorough discernment and application process prior to beginning formation. The seminary years are structured to balance men’s human, spiritual and intellectual formation.
Those who visit fidelity.dphx.org will also encounter information about prayer and healing. Catholics are encouraged to grow in their fidelity to Christ through increased prayer and fasting. Dates for upcoming Healing Masses are listed as well as guidelines on fasting and a call to pray the Rosary daily during the Marian month of October.