Statement of U.S. Bishops’ Chairman for Child and Youth Protection on Report of Clergy Sexual Abuse in France
WASHINGTON – Following the news this week of a report commissioned by the French bishops on sexual abuse in the Church in France, Bishop James V. Johnston Jr. of Kansas City-St. Joseph, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People issued the following statement.
“I am deeply saddened by the news reports coming out of France of sexual abuse by clergy there, and I echo our Holy Father, Pope Francis who has expressed his sorrow at the news. In renewed solidarity with victim-survivors who have courageously come forward, we join the Church of France in praying for forgiveness, healing, and protection.
“This report underscores the need for us to repent and grow in our commitment to serve the people of God. The Holy Father, in his pastoral concern for the Universal Church has called us all to greater accountability and transparency in addressing the sins of abuse and the mishandling of abuse claims at every level.
“Here in the United States, the Catholic Church has established a comprehensive set of child protection standards that the dioceses and eparchies have committed to following, but the painful experience of survivors always calls us to continual vigilance and improvement. This report opens painful wounds for those who have suffered abuse by a priest, bishop, or someone in the Church, and to those who have experienced this, I urge you to report this to law enforcement and to Church authorities. Let us all continue to pray for healing and reconciliation.”
For more information on how and where to report abuse, please visit www.usccb.org/committees/protection-children-young-people/how-report-abuse.