Bishop Carl Kemme of Wichita said that though he cannot personally speak to the former nuncio's allegations, "I join with others in expressing my hope and expectation that a full, independent and transparent investigation be conducted in this matter so as to bring forth the truth. The allegations of such a respected bishop in the Church and one charged with such great responsibility as the papal nuncio to the United States demands such an investigation."
Bishop Edward Burns of Dallas, together with many of his priests, wrote to Pope Francis Aug. 29 asking that, as had been previously suggested, there be held an extraordinary synod on the life and ministry of clerics, in light of clerical sex abuse and its cover-up.
Bishop James Wall of Gallup said Aug. 31 that Archbishop Viganò's testimony "leaves many questions unanswered, and I believe the claims within should be properly investigated in order to shed light on what appears to be much darkness."
He asked the people of the Diocese of Gallup to read the testimony, to "pray for the healing of all survivors of sexual abuse," and to pray for Pope Francis, asking "the Holy Spirit to give him wisdom, guidance, prudence, and the courage to lead the Church through these very dark times."
The same day, Archbishop John Wester of Santa Fe said that "we must be on guard not to give in to the temptation to blame."
He said, "there have been many who, it seems to me, have been using these tragedies to further an agenda." Archbishop Wester suggested that Archbishop Viganò "needs to show greater care in helping us to discern God’s will in these tragic times. I am disturbed by this, and other attempts to promote a certain agenda."
The New Mexico archbishop suggested that "the issue that the Catholic Church has been dealing with ... is that of the sexual abuse of children and young people." He said he fears a loss of momentum in assisting abuse victims "when the discussion turns to ecclesial politics and the typical flash points between conservatives and liberals. This is not the way of the Gospel, and we do harm to the Body of Christ by our politics and polarization."
Archbishop Wester said he is "deeply saddened by those who attack Pope Francis," whom he said "has shown himself to be a man of integrity, compassion and love. In the short five years of his pontificate, he has demonstrated again and again his truthfulness and his love for the vulnerable, even in the midst of strong and painful criticism. He has led the Catholic Church with a clear vision that is formed by the Gospel and grounded in our sacred tradition. He has not wavered in his dedication to the poor and marginalized as he seeks to gather everyone into the Kingdom of God. He has also demonstrated that he is open to learning and to discerning the voice of the Holy Spirit at work in the Catholic faithful and evident in the 'signs of the times'. I have every confidence in him."
Bishop Robert Guglielmone of Charleston wrote to Archbishop Christophe Pierre saying, "something must be done now."
"It is imperative that the Holy See take a leadership role in investigating the rise of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, despite the reported knowledge of his prior sexual misconduct and monetary settlements during his earlier diocesan assignments. It is absolutely necessary for all of us to know how and why this happened. Action must occur immediately and publicly."
The South Carolina bishop also said he strongly supports "an investigation by the Holy See along with a national lay commission with its own authority to seek the truth about the statements made by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano ... it is necessary that the Holy Father respond to the allegations made by the Archbishop. Please encourage the Holy Father to address these allegations directly. This is in everyone's best interest; lack of knowledge and uncertainty
contribute to the confusion so much a part of our people's lives today. Our Church is called to be a beacon of light in the darkness. I ask that you be an ambassador of truth."
Bishop Guglielmone added that the national review board should be allowed "to serve as an independent entity that will review allegations made against bishops. This work must be entrusted to the laity."
Bishop Walker Nickless of Sioux City wrote Sept. 6 that the McCarrick scandal, the Pennsylvania grand jury report, and the testimony of Archbishop Viganò "have given us much to think about and to pray about."
He said he had read carefully the testimony, and supported Cardinal DiNardo's statement that an examination of its claims needs to be made.
"I believe Archbishop Viganó and, at the same time, we need more information," Bishop Nickless stated.
"In the matter of transparency in disciplining bishops, no one is above the law; and no bishop, regardless of diocese or rank or standing, may hope to evade the full and exacting moral law of our Lord Jesus Christ and the canonical laws of the church in the exercise of our duties," he said. "Therefore, let the harsh light of truth come, with its healing and freeing power."
"Moreover, while renewing my respect for our Holy Father, Pope Francis, I join the greater part of my brother bishops in supplicating the Holy Father to make a clearer and fuller answer to the Testimony. My unshakeable loyalty to the Chair of St. Peter prompts me to beg its current occupant, Pope Francis, to undertake the necessary examination for the truth and to lead us courageously. This examination must happen for the church to heal and move forward, and it undoubtedly will happen, if not with our cooperation, then in spite of any attempts to avoid it. We bishops must be open to the truth and accept justice for our misconduct, if any be found."
Bishop Nickless concluded by asking the people of his diocese "to make special efforts to pray, fast, and not give up hope in the salvation of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Statements from several other bishops, Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago, Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark, Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, Bishop David Konderla of Tulsa, Archbishop Allen Vigneron of Detroit, Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix, Cardinal DiNardo, and Bishop Strickland, have been previously covered by CNA.
A number of bishops in the US have also announced Masses of reparation or healing in the wake of the sex abuse crisis.
Archbishop Gregory Aymond of New Orleans said a Mass “for the healing of those who have been the victims of sexual abuse by clergy and also by bishops who have attempted to cover up the abuse.”
In his homily, Archbishop Aymond said that “it is time for us to repent. And I promise, as a bishop and your local bishop, your shepherd, I promise not only to pray but to fast. Some things can be driven out only by prayer and fasting.”
The Archdiocese of St. Louis has announced that Archbishop Robert Carlson will say a Mass of Reparation Sept. 7 at his cathedral.
Bishop Robert Deeley of Portland will observe a day of prayer and repentance Sept. 14, during which he will say Mass. He said anger over mishandled cases of sexual abuse of minors is justified, and that “I can think of nothing worse than this incomprehensible abuse and any attempt to cover it up. As your bishop, I am doing penance for the failure of some bishops to act appropriately to protect young people and who have failed in reflecting the holiness and integrity demanded by the Gospel.”
And in Connecticut, Bishop Frank Caggiano of Bridgeport will lead a Holy Hour with a rosary, followed by a Mass of Reparation and Purification, Sept. 15. He has asked all the priests in his diocese to attend the Mass.
“During this time of trial, we must come together as a family of faith and beg the Lord for forgiveness and to offer reparation for the sins committed by priests, bishops and any member of the Church, especially the depraved sins against children and the vulnerable,” Bishop Caggiano wrote to his priests.
“It is also a time to ask God to heal those who have been wounded by sin, to turn our hearts away from anything that is evil and to renew our commitment to holiness.”
He invited all the faithful “to join me and accompany one another during this time of sadness and anger, and to strengthen one another in our Catholic faith,” and expressed hope that this will be a “first tangible step towards renewing confidence and trust in the Church for many of our faithful.”
Bishop Caggiano also instructed his priests to say the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel at the end of each Mass, before the recessional hymn, beginning Sept. 15.
“Christ has conquered sin and death, but we are still in the midst of a spiritual battle. For that reason, I would like the Prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel recited,” Bishop Caggiano wrote to his priests.
“I believe that the Church is facing a moment of crisis that demands honesty and repentance from the bishops and decisive action to ensure that these failures will never happen again.”
Editor's note: This article has been continuously updated as new reactions emerge.