Bishop Burbidge's statement on the Summit on the Protection of Minors in the Church

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I am grateful to our Holy Father Pope Francis for convening the Summit on the Protection of Minors in the Church. With him, I remain committed to continuing to take the concrete steps that will bring healing to victims, protection for children and young people, and accountability of bishops and clergy to one another and to the faithful in our Church.

 

This is also an opportunity to express our gratitude to Pope Francis for convening this gathering and establishing the fundamental principles that will lead efforts throughout the world in working to protect young people from abuse. Bishops in the United States are in a unique position to have 16 years of experience implementing the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People as well as the Essential Norms that govern our response to accusations of sexual abuse of minors by members of the clergy and our prevention protocols. Other countries and dioceses are beginning this process and we should keep them in our prayers, as coming to grips with sexual abuse of minors by members of the clergy is challenging and heartbreaking — but it must be done. Countries and dioceses that have such policies and protocols in place must continue to seek the expertise and input from the laity to ensure that all efforts are productive and effective at preventing and addressing sexual abuse of minors.

 

Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, recently stated that in our June General Assembly meeting, we will review proposals, in communion with the Holy See, that will advance our current policies and procedures. Victims of childhood clergy sexual abuse must know that the Catholic Church in the United States handles things very differently than it did decades ago. We owe it to them to ensure that the Charter and its Norms are implemented fully, with transparency, and with accountability.

 

Please pray for my brother Bishops and me, that we would follow the Lord’s voice, which calls out for justice, compassion, and holiness.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2019