Catholic World News

US bishops 'firm in commitment' to 'zero tolerance' policy on abuse

March 25, 2011

The bishops of the United States “remain especially firm in our commitment to remove permanently from public ministry any priest” who has sexually abused a child, Archbishop Timothy Dolan, president of the bishops’ conference, said in a statement released March 24. The prelate, quoting Pope John Paul II, said that “the sexual abuse of young people is by every standard wrong and rightly considered a crime by society; it is also an appalling sin in the eyes of God.”

Archbishop Dolan’s statement follows a February Philadelphia grand jury report that stated that 37 local priests credibly abused of sexual abuse remained in ministry. Since that time, the archdiocese has hired a prosecutor to reexamine these cases and has suspended 24 priests, pending further investigation of the allegations.

The archbishop’s statement also follows media reports suggesting that the US bishops may be reconsidering their 2002 Dallas charter, which instituted the policy of permanently removing from ministry any cleric credibly accused of the sexual abuse of a minor.

“The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People that we adopted in 2002 remains strongly in place,” said Archbishop Dolan. “Over the past nine years, we have constantly reviewed the high promises and rigorous mandates of the Charter, as we continually try to make it even more effective.”

“We want to learn from our mistakes and we welcome constructive criticism.”


For all current news, visit our News home page.

Further information:
Sound Off! supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 3 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: Miss Cathy - Mar. 27, 2011 12:52 AM ET USA

    I am still trying to figure out how safe environment training is the "cure" for the fact that abusive priests were shuffled around. I didn't hear that the laity were the scandal, how the heck is this the solution. My 72 year old mom quit teaching CCD when they told her that you could not hug a child and she was made aware that safe-environment contained a presentation of unseemly what if situations and how children are "groomed" - presented to children. Is this "protecting" children?

  • Posted by: Bernadette - Mar. 26, 2011 5:10 PM ET USA

    What's good for the goose....I agree, something wrong here. The conclusion I can't help but arrive at is that there are still too many homosexual bishops in the "boys club" looking out for one another.

  • Posted by: impossible - Mar. 26, 2011 12:21 AM ET USA

    Zero tolerance for Priests and 100 tolerance for Bishops. Something wrong with that picture