December 5, 2013
Every effort must be made to protect children
Broad-based approach to problem is welcome
U.S. bishops have made great strides but still more to be done
WASHINGTON—Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, welcomed the decision of Pope Francis to establish a commission on the protection of minors. The move was urged by the Council of Cardinals, an advisory group to the pope that met at the Vatican, December 3-5. Archbishop Kurtz praised the effort in a December 5 statement.
The statement follows.
The decision of Pope Francis to establish a commission for the protection of minors is a most welcome initiative. Abuse of minors is a sin and a crime, and every step must be taken to eradicate this blight. Such abuse is especially grave when committed by anyone in ministry in our Church.
The problem of sexual abuse of minors exists throughout society and every effort must be made to protect children, particularly within the Church.
The announcement of this initiative reflects a broad-based approach that considers changes in Vatican procedures in dealing with clerics accused of abuse, seminary training for future priests, and other pastoral efforts to address this horrific problem. This international effort is particularly welcome as we have come to learn that this tragedy affects many, if not all, parts of the world.
As president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, I promise full cooperation of the U.S. bishops with this commission and look forward to more information on its implementation. In the United States, we have learned of the importance of background checks, education of children and adults on child safety, the swift removal of offenders, and the need for the Church and civil authorities to work together. While these efforts have resulted in a dramatic reduction in abuse cases, much work remains to be done.
Our prayers are with Pope Francis and this commission, and we are grateful for this effort.
December 5, 2013
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Sister Mary Ann Walsh