Washington D.C., Nov 10, 2003 / 22:00 pm
The president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops urged his fellow bishops to promote unity and accept criticism from the laity at the start of the bishops’ semi-annual meeting yesterday.
“In our recent history, nothing has damaged the communio of our local Churches – and indeed of the whole Church in the United States – more than the crisis of the sexual abuse of minors,” said Bishop Wilton Gregory, referring to the sex-abuse scandal that was uncovered more than a year ago in the U.S. Church. “The sense of unity and common purpose between bishop and the diocesan community, between bishop and his priests, and even among us ourselves as Bishops, was deeply affected.
“Among those with whom we bishops have an urgent obligation to re-establish communio are the victims of sexual abuse by clergy,” said the bishop of the Diocese of Belleville. “Our solid steps to prevent future abuse must be accompanied by a healing and reconciliation with those who were abused.
“We Bishops need to reflect on our own need to accept just criticism, to apologize, and to forgive, not only in our relationships with the faithful, but in our commerce with one another,” he continued.