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US bishops praise revised Vatican norms on clerical abuse

July 16, 2010

Bishop Blase Cupich, the bishop-designate of Spokane and chairman of the US bishops’ Committee on Protection of Children and Young People, issued a statement on July 15 praising the inclusion of the abuse of developmentally disabled adults and the use of child pornography among the revised Vatican norms for “extremely serious crimes.”

“The Vatican action is a welcome step forward as we deal with the terrible crime and sin of sexual abuse by a cleric,” said Bishop Cupich. “What we read today from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is heartening. The bishops in this country felt the support of the Holy See in 2002 with the establishment of the Essential Norms and we are strengthened even more as the measures outlined in this document build on and go beyond what has been particular law for the Church in the United States since then.”

He added:

The seriousness with which the Church views sexual abuse of a minor by a cleric cannot be understated. By putting child sexual abuse by clergy in the same context as the safeguarding of the sacraments, the Church is making it clear that such misconduct violates the core values of our faith and worship.

Today the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith notes that the abuse of the mentally impaired, no matter what the person’s age, is horrific. Abuse of someone who cannot defend himself or herself is craven, cowardly behavior. Welcome, too, is the recognition that the crime of child pornography damages not just those who pursue it, but any child degraded in the making of it. Child pornography is a degradation of any child of God. A priest’s involvement with it is particularly offensive.


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