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Bishop Burbidge's statement in response to the McCarrick report

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In response to the McCarrick report

I have read the Executive Summary of the report and will soon read the report in its entirety. I thank our Holy Father, Pope Francis, for fulfilling his commitment to investigate the matters related to Theodore McCarrick and for publishing the final report today. 

This report provides further insight into the extent and scope of the gravely sinful behavior of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, laicized in February 2019. The actions detailed are deeply troubling and continue to cause profound pain to the victims, their families, and the Church as a whole. While no written document can fully capture or convey the scope and impact of the former Cardinal’s sexual abuse, misuse of power, and breach of trust, this report is a significant step in the right direction. It offers greater transparency and, as such, increases the level of accountability for all involved. 

I thank the victims who came forward and express my profound sadness and deep regret for all instances of sexual victimization. The Church remains fully committed to assisting any victim of sexual abuse in their healing process. As a Church, we must continue to bring to light such sins and aid in the healing of those affected.

I ask the faithful to continue praying fervently for all victims of sexual abuse, as well as for their families. 

Additional background

—     In May 2019, our Holy Father, Pope Francis, promulgated “Vos Estis Lux Mundi” (“You are the Light of the World”), which expanded global mandates regarding the protection of minors and vulnerable adults and established new norms to ensure reporting and investigation of allegations against bishops. 

—     In June 2019, Bishop Burbidge joined the U.S. bishops in voting to implement the new norms, which include a system for third-party reporting, which is now in place.

—     The Catholic Diocese of Arlington has an extensive internal structure of safeguards in place and works vigilantly to safeguard against sexual abuse of minors. 

—     The Diocese remains fully committed to transparency and accountability and, in February 2019, released a list of all clergy who have served in the Diocese and have had a credible accusation of sexual abuse made against them. (That list is published here.)

—     No priest credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor is serving in public ministry in the Diocese.

—     The Diocese immediately reports any allegation of sexual abuse of a minor to legal authorities. Our zero-tolerance policy for abuse of a minor applies to all clergy, seminarians, staff and volunteers in the Diocese. 

—     Every Catholic diocese is independent of the governance of other dioceses and archdioceses. This means that, while the Archdiocese of Washington is in close proximity to the Diocese of Arlington, Cardinal McCarrick had no oversight or involvement in the pastoral care or administration of the Diocese of Arlington. 

For more information about our Office of Child Protection and Victim Assistance, please go here


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2020