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US bishops on Pennsylvania abuse report: We are shamed by the sins and omissions

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"Church pledges to continue to restore trust through accompaniment, communion, accountability and justice"

The body of US bishops responded with a statement to the long-awaited release today of a Pennsylvania grand jury report, which covers six of the state’s eight dioceses over the course of 70 years, and is the most complete examination yet by a US government agency of abuse in the Church.

“As a body of bishops, we are shamed by and sorry for the sins and omissions by Catholic priests and Catholic bishops,” said the statement, released by Houston’s Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the USCCB, and the conference’s chairman for the Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People,  Bishop Timothy Doherty of Lafayette, Indiana.

The statement said the report “illustrates the pain” of victims and points to those who “shielded abusers and so facilitated an evil that continued for years or even decades.”

The bishops noted gratitude for “the courage of the people who aided the investigation by sharing their personal stories of abuse.”

The report found more than 1,000 identifiable victims.

“We are committed to work in determined ways so that such abuse cannot happen,” the statement continued, noting that in 2002, the bishops adopted the Charter known as the Dallas Charter, which “commits us to respond promptly and compassionately to victims, report the abuse of minors, remove offenders and take ongoing action to prevent abuse.”

This Charter was revised and updated in 2011 and again in 2018.

The statement notes the policy of “permanent removal of offenders from ministry” and adds that policies and procedures are publicly available.

“We pray that all survivors of sexual abuse find healing, comfort and strength in God’s loving presence as the Church pledges to continue to restore trust through accompaniment, communion, accountability and justice,” the bishops concluded.

 

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