“I especially apologize to Nicholas Sandmann and his family as well as to all CovCath families who have felt abandoned during this ordeal. Nicholas unfortunately has become the face of these allegations based on video clips,” said Foys. “This is not fair. This is not just.”
Earlier in the week, Foys offered similar sentiments to the student body at Covington Catholic during a rally.
“Know that I stand with you, that I join with you in that ‘Spirit that will not die’ and that together we will work through this. Thank you and God bless you,” the bishop told students.
The Kentucky Diocese of Covington and Covington Catholic High School released a joint statement Jan. 19, condemning the students’ behavior, at a time when it was widely reported that they had been mocking or antagonizing Phillips.
“This behavior is opposed to the Church’s teachings on the dignity and respect of the human person. The matter is being investigated and we will take appropriate action, up to and including expulsion,” the Jan. 19 statement said.
“We know this incident also has tainted the entire witness of the March for Life and express our most sincere apologies to all those who attended the March and all those who support the pro-life movement,” it concluded.
Since the controversy began, Covington Catholic High School students have been subject to death threats, and the school was closed on Monday. Classes resumed with heavy police presence.
On Saturday, Phillips and a crowd of about 50 attempted to disrupt Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, but were stopped by shrine security.
On Jan. 22, the Diocese of Covington released an updated statement saying that it would open a third-party investigation into what actually happened on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
Foys’ most recent statement said that it was his “hope and expectation” that this investigation would “exonerate” the students, and that they will be able to move past this ordeal. He also expressed support for Robert Rowe, the principal of Covington Catholic High School. Rowe is a “fine leader,” said Foys, and “those calling for his resignation simply do not know him.”
“I pray that with the grace of God and the goodwill of all involved peace will once again reign in the hearts and minds of our faithful,” said Foys.
“As for CovCath, we have a spirit that will not die!"
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