Bishop Donald Hying Promoted to Lead Diocese of Madison, WI

The Diocese of Madison, WI will soon have a new bishop in place. We hope Bishop Donald J. Hying will take up Pope Francis’ charge from February to wage an “all-out battle” against clergy abuse.

Bishop Hying’s predecessor, Bishop Robert Morlino, blamed the clergy abuse crisis on homosexuality, a position that flies in the face of facts about sexual abuse. We hope that Bishop Hying will take immediate steps to keep children in Madison safe instead of washing his hands of responsibility by blaming scapegoats. We also hope that he will demonstrate the transparency and openness that Church leaders have promised since 2002.

In his previous position as the Bishop of Gary, IN, SNAP repeatedly asked Bishop Hying to add the names of publicly accused Gary priests to his inadequate and inaccurate list of 'credibly accused' clerics. He ignored those requests. We believe that continued secrecy about those who have committed abuse endangers both children and vulnerable adults.

We hope that Bishop Hying will be more open as the Bishop of Madison. He can start by immediately turning over any and all files related to clergy abuse to the Attorney General of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Bureau of Investigation. He can follow that up by releasing a list of priests, deacons, brothers, nuns, and lay employees and volunteers in the Diocese of Madison who have abused children or vulnerable adults. His predecessor was considering this move before his illness and death last fall. That list should be as up to date as possible and contain not only names and photos, but also work histories with dates, current whereabouts, and, most importantly, when the Diocese learned of the allegations and when it took action.

We also hope that parishioners in both Madison and Gary will judge their new bishops by their deeds, not their words. Those in the pews should avoid the temptation to give their hierarchs, or anyone else, the benefit of the doubt when it comes to the safety of children and the healing of victims.

CONTACT: Zach Hiner, Executive Director (zhiner@snapnetwork.org, 517-974-9009)

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)


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