With the recent allegations of incidents of sexual abuse committed by Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, former Archbishop of Washington, D.C., and the release of a Grand Jury Report involving several dioceses in Pennsylvania, and similar reports coming from other dioceses across the globe, the sad spectacle of the sexual abuse of minors in the Catholic Church has once again resurfaced. We cannot but feel profound shame, regret and remorse for the immeasurable harm these incidents, even if from the distant past, have caused the victims/survivors and their families, and we mourn the incalculable harm these incidents have inflicted upon the Church, the Body of Christ.
For many years now, particularly with our “Diocesan Child Protection and Outreach Policy” (2004), the Diocese of Providence has employed a very aggressive response to credible allegations of sexual abuse of minors by any member of the clergy. The accused perpetrators have been immediately removed from office and placed on administrative leave, with all ministerial faculties revoked; the church communities in which the clergy have served have been promptly notified; law enforcement officials, including the State Police and the Attorney General’s Office have been immediately notified; as required by the law of the Church, a report of the allegations has been forwarded to the Vatican; and pastoral outreach and tangible assistance have been offered to the identified victims/survivors.
In recognition of these efforts, last year a national audit confirmed that the Diocese of Providence is in full compliance with the USCCB “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.”
Incidents of sexual abuse of minors in the Church — or wherever they occur – must be aggressively addressed, eliminated, and punished. In light of the news of recent days, in our country and around the world, the Diocese of Providence renews its commitment to provide a safe environment for children and youth. We are equally determined to purge the Church of these horrible acts, and to respond compassionately to all those who have been harmed. May God forgive us our sins and grant us the grace to follow a path of reform and renewal.
For more information on diocesan policies and procedures on this effort, please visit our website: www.dioceseofprovidence.org and click on the “Promise to Protect” button on the homepage.