Philadelphia archdiocese to implement audit recommendations "immediately"

.- In a recently released pastoral letter, Cardinal Justin Rigali said the Archdiocese of Philadelphia “immediately initiated steps to fulfill the recommendations” regarding sexual abuse by priests made by auditors, who visited the archdiocese last September. A letter from the auditors, dated Nov. 12, confirmed that the archdiocese took the necessary steps and "is now in full compliance” with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, reported the Associated Press.

The auditors’ visit was part of a review conducted across the U.S. in all Catholic dioceses to determine how well bishops have been implementing the new policies regarding sexual abuse by priests, adopted by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in June 2002.

Auditors had recommended that the Archdiocese of Philadelphia keep track of priests, who have been removed from ministry, and provide sex-abuse training and materials "in the various languages of parishioners." In addition, it recommended that it work with a seven-member board "to expedite resolution of remaining procedural issues to satisfy its commitment to bring prompt and just closure to outstanding allegations."

However, in his pastoral letter, Cardinal Rigali underlined that auditors found the archdiocese to be in "basic compliance" with the charter in having sex-abuse review boards, formal procedures for responding to abuse complaints, background checks on clergy and lay workers, and staff training on identifying abuse.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops released today the full results of the audit of all 195 U.S. dioceses. The audit only evaluated actions taken since U.S. bishops adopted the sex-abuse charter in June 2002. Philadelphia released its audit in advance, as did other dioceses.

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