Previous Actions that Still Need Your Support

We invite all Catholics to stand in solidarity with survivors by requesting the suspension of music by David Haas from public liturgies. (For context, please see Awake’s blog post and Courageous Conversation on this topic: Awake Welcomes Three Women Who Spoke Out About David Haas.) Scroll down to read what you can do to support this effort!

Update 2/22/21: Those who wrote letters to Archdiocesan leaders in January and February 2021 have begun to receive a standardized response email from Archbishop Listecki. This is the text of the email:

Thank you for your email. I appreciate you taking the time to write to me and share your feelings about David Haas and his music. I am not aware of any tie David Haas has to the Archdiocese of Milwaukee or of any individuals from the Archdiocese that have made accusations of abuse by Mr. Haas. I do understand how some people could be negatively affected by seeing his name or hearing his music, knowing such allegations have been made. Although I’m sure many people have benefited from his music over the years, we would not want to unknowingly cause further suffering to those who have been harmed. We certainly do not condone his behavior or any such behavior by people in positions of power in the Catholic Church. This is why we have a Code of Ethical Standards for Church Personnel and a mechanism available for reporting such incidents.

The selection of liturgical music is a decision made at the local, parish level. I am aware that some dioceses/bishops have made public statements and/or discouraged the use of music by David Haas. This is something I will take under consideration in consultation with my advisors.

Thank you for your email. Please pray for me and the Church in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and be assured of my prayers for you.


In Christ,
Most Reverend Jerome E. Listecki
Archbishop of Milwaukee

1) If You Live in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, Contact Archdiocesan Leaders

Please send a message to Archbishop Jerome Listecki (archbishoplistecki@archmil.org), Auxiliary Bishop Jeffrey Haines (bishophaines@archmil.org), and Auxiliary Bishop James Schuerman (bishopschuerman@archmil.org), with the Archbishops’s chief of staff, Jerry Topcziewski (topczewskij@archmil.org), CCed on the email.

Email is easiest, but if you are willing to take the extra time to make a phone call or send a printed letter, that could be even more effective. Additional contact information can be found here

For your reference, this document includes details and full text of the 6 emails that were already sent to the Archdiocese of Milwaukee on behalf of Haas’s survivors.

If you are willing, please blind copy connect@awakemilwaukee.org on your email or send us a quick note letting us know you contacted them. It is helpful to us to have a sense of how many people are sending messages.

Suggestions for a letter are found below, but we encourage you to personalize the message as much as possible.

Please invite fellow Catholics to join you in this effort!

Dear Archbishop Listecki, Bishop Haines, and Bishop Schuerman,

Thank you for your leadership in our Archdiocese (or say something else nice to start!).

Because (offer a brief explanation about why this matters to you), I am writing to request that you discontinue the use of music by Catholic composer David Haas at all Archdiocesan liturgies and ask all parishes and schools in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee to do the same. I also request that you 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!)

I hope the Archdiocese of Milwaukee will stand with the many other Catholic dioceses who have chosen to listen to these survivors and respond with compassion. I appreciated the statement from ________ (chose one of the diocesan responses from this list and link directly to the statement). Include a strong quote from their statement.

I would appreciate a reply to this email explaining your position on this question. Thank you in advance for leading our Archdiocese toward a compassionate, survivor-centered response.

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

1b) If You Live in a Different Diocese, Research Your Diocese’s Response

Start by checking this spreadsheet from Laurie Delgatto-Whitten 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.

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.

If no action has been taken, use the model above to contact your bishop.

If you would like assistance organizing an effort to reach out to your diocese, you can contact survivor advocate Laurie Delgatto-Whitten at ldelgattowhitten@att.net.

2) Contact the Music Minister or Director of Liturgy at your Parish

  • If your parish has already discontinued the use of Haas’s music and made a statement to the community explaining why, tell them thank you. Positive feedback helps!
  • If you’re not sure what they have done, just reach out and ask. Some music ministers have quietly discontinued the use of Haas’s music without communicating this decision to parishioners. This is a good start, but we also want to encourage them to make a compassionate public statement.
  • Email is often easiest, but a printed letter, phone call, or personal conversation can be even more powerful. Feel free to engage fellow parishioners in this effort!
  • Please CC your pastor on the email as well, to make sure he is aware of the request.
  • If you don’t receive a response to your message, follow up after one week. (Remember that parish staff are often very busy!) Maybe this is the time to try a phone call if you did not receive a reply to your email.
  • Suggestions for a letter are found below, but please personalize the message as much as possible.
  • If you are able to generate a positive outcome at your parish in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, Awake would love to hear about it and thank those who made the decision. Please keep us posted!

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.

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),
Name
Parish