Edward Arsenault’s letter to the diocese and former associates
EDWARD J. ARSENAULT
February 3, 2014
On June 2, 1991, I was entrusted with representing the Lord Jesus as a priest of the Diocese of Manchester. Although I have sought to do so faithfully and well, I not only failed to do what is right, I also committed crimes in the exercise of my responsibilities as a priest and a collaborator in the work of the Catholic Church in New Hampshire.
I am truly and sincerely sorry for what I did and I apologize to the many who have been harmed by my actions.
First, I have sought forgiveness from God. Thanks to the gifts of grace and the pastoral care of priests, family and friends, I have experienced this forgiveness in a profound and gracious way.
Second, I apologize to the prior and current Bishops of Manchester and to my colleagues in diocesan ministries over many years. Many of these persons have already supported me despite my failings and crimes - true experiences of Christ for me. I was always in their debt for our work together, and now, more so, for their mercy.
Third, I apologize to the priests of New Hampshire. I have failed the bond of our fraternity and I ask your forgiveness. Many priests and religious sisters — from New Hampshire and elsewhere — have reached out in love and support these last several months. This has sustained me in ways that words cannot express.
Fourth, I seek forgiveness from my family and many friends. Their unconditional love and support, and their frequent reminders to me of who I am and of the good that I have done, has helped me to keep perspective during the last year.
Finally, I apologize to the people of New Hampshire, especially the Catholic community, for the harm this has caused them. I broke the law and violated the trust of others. I am prepared to accept the consequences for having done so, to make restitution and to face the penalty for having committed these crimes.
My decision to write to you now is because I have been constrained by the process that has unfolded these last several months. Today certain aspects of what transpired in the past will be made public. I wanted to write to you to express my remorse and sorrow, to ask your forgiveness and to express my resolve to face the consequences of my wrongs with the strength of my convictions.
I am confident in God’s love and forgiveness and have experienced both already from many of you. This does not exclude the consequences that I face. May mercy and justice meet, and may God’s Spirit bind us together.