Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, welcomed Pope Francis’ call for a World Day of Prayer for Victims of Sexual Abuse and highlighted the efforts in dioceses across the country guided by the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.
Related: Read what the Vatican’s Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors has achieved and is planning
The archbishop’s statement follows.
With a pastor’s heart, Pope Francis renewed the call of the universal Church to pray for, help heal and proactively protect children from the terrible sin of sexual abuse. For whenever we have failed to protect our children from predators, we beg God’s forgiveness. For wherever we have failed to support victims of sexual abuse, we beg their forgiveness. We have learned from the pain of such moments to motivate a rigorous prevention program.
That is why, in the United States, dioceses and parishes across the country have found grace in the very types of reconciliation services proposed by the worldwide day of prayer. Likewise, our painful experience resulted in the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. We are grateful to the Holy Father for calling for the day of prayer. This universal expression of healing and sorrow, joined by our brothers and sisters around the world, will be a powerful reminder that no survivor should walk the path toward healing alone.
Earlier this week, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Administrative Committee met to begin preparing our support for the Holy Father’s effort. It is a moment to renew our commitment and ensure we remain vigilant against the scourge of sexual abuse. Let us pray that we may never become complacent in our prayer and protection. If you have been the victim of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church, notify law enforcement and please know there is a victim assistance coordinator in every U.S. diocese ready to help. They are trained and ready to receive your call.