David Haas Response

As part of our mission to stand in solidarity with all who have experienced abuse in the Catholic Church, Awake has provided ongoing attention to the numerous reports of abuse by Catholic composer David Haas. Please watch this video to hear from 16 of the more than 50 women who have reported abuse by Haas. (Trigger warning: Emotional descriptions of sexual assault, predatory grooming, and spiritual abuse.)

You can find more information in these posts on the Awake blog:

7/27/21 – Publisher GIA Contacts All U.S. Dioceses About Catholic Composer David Haas
7/6/21 – Update: Archdiocese of Milwaukee Will Not Issue Statement on Music by Composer David Haas
1/26/21 – Awake Welcomes Three Women Who Spoke Out About David Haas (includes event recording)
12/8/20 – Update: Dioceses and Parishes Consider Survivor-Centered Approaches to David Haas’s Music
10/14/20 – Survivor Story: After My Experience with David Haas, I Can’t Sing His Music
10/6/20 – News About Composer David Haas Grows Worse, and Victim-Survivors Ask for a Ban on His Music
8/4/20 – Should We Sing David Haas’s Songs After He’s Been Accused of Sexual Abuse?

We also encourage you to check out this YouTube playlist of highlights from Awake’s Courageous Conversation on this subject: The Women Who Spoke Out – A Survivor, a Colleague, and an Advocate Share Their Story of Exposing David Haas’s Abuse.

We invite all Catholics to act in solidarity with survivors by requesting the suspension of music by David Haas from public liturgies. Scroll down to read what you can do to support this effort!

If You Live in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee:

Unfortunately, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee has decided not to make any statement or recommendation about the use of music by David Haas. This means it is up to each individual parish and music ministry to make a choice to create a safe and welcoming environment for abuse survivors at Mass. Here’s what you can do to help:

  1. If you know that your parish has discontinued the use of Haas’s music, please let Awake know here and send a message of thanks to your music minister and pastor to support this decision. Let’s make sure to recognize communities that have made the choice to stand with survivors!
  2. If you’re not sure what your parish has decided, now is the time to find out! Just contact the music minister and pastor at your parish and ask. A suggested email template is found below, but a phone call or personal conversation may be even more effective. Please keep Awake posted here with what you learn.
  3. Feel free to continue to share your feelings with Archdiocesan leaders Archbishop Jerome Listecki (archbishoplistecki@archmil.org), Auxiliary Bishop Jeffrey Haines (bishophaines@archmil.org), Auxiliary Bishop James Schuerman (bishopschuerman@archmil.org), and Jerry Topcziewski (topczewskij@archmil.org).
  4. Please spread the word and invite fellow Catholics to join you in this effort!

If you are a music minister yourself, we urge you to immediately discontinue the use of Haas’s music in all settings AND make a public statement to your parish about why you have done so. Please also reach out to your music ministry colleagues inviting them to do the same. Thank you for standing with survivors in this way.

If You Live in a Different Diocese:

  1. Find out whether your diocese has issued a public statement. Start by checking this spreadsheet to see if there is a response recorded there. If there is no response listed, please verify this with a quick internet search. Try your diocese’s name + David Haas, your bishop’s name + David Haas, and also a search on your diocesan website for the name David Haas.
  2. If your bishop has suspended the use of Haas’s music, send him a note to say thank you. Supportive feedback helps encourage positive action in the future.
  3. If no action has been taken, contact your bishop to ask him to provide compassionate leadership on this issue.
  4. If there has been no diocesan action, you can also reach out to your parish music minister, using the template below.
  5. Please spread the word and invite fellow Catholics to join you in this effort!

Template for Email to Parish Music Minister

Dear ________________,

Thank you for providing beautiful music at our parish (or say something else nice to start!).

Because I want to help our Church be a safe place for survivors of sexual abuse (or offer some other explanation about why this matters to you), I am writing to ask that you discontinue the use of music by Catholic composer David Haas at all parish liturgies and make a public statement explaining this decision and expressing solidarity with survivors.

As a (name your “Catholic credentials” – devout Catholic, Catholic school mom, lay minister, cantor, parish volunteer,  regular mass-goer, etc.), it’s very important to me that my Church (listens to survivors, takes action to make our Church more welcoming, etc.). Write another sentence or two about why this matters to you, how the issue of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church affects you and your faith, what you want to see from your Church, etc.

As I’m sure you are aware, there are now more than 50 women who have reported sexual abuse and manipulation by Haas over the course of more than 40 years.  For more information, you can view news coverage of these allegations, read a firsthand story from one survivor, and see detailed reports at https://intoaccount.org/reports. If you want to hear directly from those who helped bring these allegations to light, I would recommend you watch the video recording of a powerful presentation by three of these women here: Courageous Conversations with Awake Milwaukee: The Women Who Spoke Out. (If there are other resources that have had a greater impact on you, please use them in this paragraph instead!)

As I have learned more about this case, I _________ (describe how you feel, why you don’t want to sing his music, what you feel called to do, etc). I hope that you will join me in listening to the needs of survivors and responding with compassion and courage. 

If you have not already done so, please discontinue the use of Haas’s music at our church. I would also encourage you to clearly communicate your decision to the parish and explain why this decision matters. You can find examples of thoughtful statements from other music ministries here, here, and here.

I would appreciate a reply to this email. If there is anything I can do help our parish in formulating a compassionate, survivor-centered response, I would be happy to do so.

Sincerely (or some other greeting, perhaps using religious language),