Letter from Fr. John Hilton


Dear Parish Family,

With great sadness we have all read about the terrible scandals that have harmed so many young people and severely damaged our Church. At a time when the Catholic Church more than ever needs to speak with a pure voice the saving message of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, that voice has been severely stained by sexual abuse scandals.

It is clear that clergy – including bishops and cardinals – have used their position of trust to sexually abuse innocent victims. In over 80% of reported cases, the victims were boys and adolescent males. For example, former-cardinal McCarrick was removed from ministry after repeated and credible allegations that he sexually abused young men in his seminary. A culture of silence and cover-up protected these priests and bishops, thereby allowing abuse to continue. Victims were frequently ignored by the Church whose very existence is to save, to heal, and to love. Especially difficult for us to understand is the lack of transparency and honesty, this must stop at all levels of the Church.

We are experiencing a serious crisis of faith and life as so many members of the Catholic Church are scandalized by the crimes committed, worsened by the hypocrisy and neglect of some of our church leaders. Parents find themselves asking themselves the  question, “Are my children safe?”  this is not what our dear Jesus wants for His beloved Church!

As your pastor, I do not have the authority or wisdom to fix the sins that have occurred, but I must do everything in my power to make sure that our local parish family is never part of the problem and is safe for our children and young people.

These are the policies and precautions that are in place at Saint Mary’s:

  • All clergy, lay staff members, and volunteers over the age of 18 have been VIRTUS certified
    before being allowed to work with or volunteer with minors and vulnerable adults. The
    Archdiocese of Denver ensures that all clergy, lay staff and volunteers are in compliance and
    have received the necessary re-certification that is required every 3-5 years.
  • Staff and clergy receive ongoing training and resources regarding safe environment procedures.
  • All employees and clergy of the parish have been background checked before employment by Saint Mary’s.
  • The Pastoral Council and Finance Council is composed of your fellow parishioners. Their job is to provide advice and oversight to the clergy. Their job is to report to the Archbishop irregularities and concerns should they arise.
  • All staff, clergy, ministry leaders, and parishioners are instructed to contact local civil authorities within 24 hours if you suspect any sort of abuse has occurred.

The purpose of this web page is to provide you with articles and videos concerning the sexual abuse crisis. These resources will not be easy for you to view but they are an honest look at what has happened and what must happen in order to move forward.

May our Blessed Mother, the Mother of Jesus and the protector of our parish, intercede for the Church, so in need of the healing only her Son can give.

In Jesus and Mary,

Fr. John Hilton
Former Pastor of St. Mary Church
Aspen, Colorado

A Solemn Promise

In response to the recent scandals in the Church, Archbishop Samuel Aquila has requested that a website be created and continuously updated to ensure that the archdiocese is transparent about our handling, prevention, and response policies in regards to the sexual abuse of minors and misconduct. Visit the Archdiocese’s website to view our track record, view context of the broader issue, find resources for anyone seeking healing from abuse, and see what the Archdiocese of Denver is doing to prevent these actions locally.


Bishop Robert Baron:

Why Remain Catholic?

Fr. Mike Schmitz:

Repentance and Church Reform

Chris Stefanick:

Why I’m Not Leaving the Church

Have Questions or Need to File a Report?

Contact the Victim Assistance Coordinator at 720-239-2832 or victim.assistance@archden.org