In his emendation of the Aug. 29 statement, the parenthetical reference to Cardinal Burke's removal from the Apostolic Signatura was omitted.
"Such speculation was unfair and His Eminence deserved better," Towey wrote in his Aug. 30 letter. "He has been a friend of Ave Maria University since its founding and is renowned for his sincere love of the Church. I will amend my statement on the web site, and I apologize."
Towey said that Church unity "is vital today more than ever before," and, referring to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, that "the Pope has primacy, and that the unity of the pope and the bishops is the very foundation of the Church."
"You and I must work toward that unity and avoid any potential schism that might mortally wound the body of Christ," he wrote.
Towey affirmed that the case of Archbishop McCarrick "raises troubling questions that demand answers. For the record, I support the initiative within the Church to vigorously examine the evidence. What His Eminence Cardinal DiNardo proposed seems appropriate."
He said he grew up believing "that we should love whoever our pope is and give the benefit of the doubt to him whenever it is reasonably possible to do so. I see no reason why Pope Francis doesn't deserve this benefit now."
"I remain confident he will comment at the appropriate time on what has been published, and also lead the effort the Church needs to protect children and vulnerable adults from clergy sexual abuse, and hold those who perpetrate such acts or cover them up within the hierarchy, accountable. Let us all pray for him."
Pope Francis responded Aug. 26 to a journalist's question about Archbishop Viganò's testimony, saying: "I read the statement this morning, and I must tell you sincerely that, I must say this, to you and all those who are interested: Read the statement carefully and make your own judgement. I will not say a single word on this. I believe the statement speaks for itself. And you have the journalistic capacity to draw your own conclusions. It's an act of faith. When some time passes and you have drawn your conclusions, I may speak. But, I would like your professional maturity to do the work for you. It will be good for you."
The original version of Towey's Aug. 29 statement has been removed from Ave Maria University's website, and has been replaced with an emended version. The original is, however, available on cached sites.
In addition to removing his parenthetical speculation about Cardinal Burke's motivations, the updated version of Towey's statement removed from the opening line the word "conservative" as predicated of some members of the Church hierarchy: "There is nothing new about the rift between Pope Francis and some conservative members of the Church hierarchy" in the original now reads "There is nothing new about the rift between Pope Francis and some members of the Church hierarchy."
The emended version of the statement continues to refer twice to "conservative Catholics", once to "so-called conservative Catholics," and it affirms the conservatism of Ave Maria University.
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Towey's letter also refers to his Aug. 24 statement regarding the crisis of clerical sexual abuse and its cover-up by Church authorities.
He wrote in his letter that the scandal "touches very close to home," as a family member, while in high school, was abused by a seminary deacon.
Towey said the deacon was ordained a priest and "only when three women went public many years later was he removed from active ministry."
"Five other victims came forward shortly after he was removed from parish life," Towey wrote. "He has never acknowledged his wrongdoing to any of the victims, remains a priest to this day, and receives a monthly pension check for the 22 years he preyed on the vulnerable while wearing a Roman collar."
"I intend to continue to press for justice in his case, and as a lay man, to participate in the reform of the Church so that priests like him are held accountable," Towey stated.