Zero tolerance for abuse, Mexican bishops reiterate


The Mexican bishops’ conference published a statement on its website this week reiterating the Church's zero tolerance policy on sexual abuse and expressing solidarity with the Holy Father.

“The homily given by Cardinal Norberto Rivera at the Cathedral during the Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday leaves no room for doubt,” the bishops' conference states.  “Before a large number of priests, religious and laity (the cardinal) reiterated what he and other bishops have said on various occasions regarding the issue of pedophilia - zero tolerance.”

“In addition, and this must be emphasized, the cardinal calls on all people to notify civil and church authorities if they learn of this kind of abuse.”

The bishops continue by noting that the problem has “already arisen and today no bishop anywhere in the world would engage in any kind of shady deal making.”  They explain that in the past, although it's no justification, the prelates “did not have the tools to confront these problems related to pedophilia or priestly celibacy.”

“The documents the Holy Father has issued in this regard, the norms that the bishops have established in their respective dioceses, and the material published by the Bishops’ Conference of Mexico, have changed things today and made it possible to talk about this issue and discuss it with complete clarity,” the statement says.

It also stresses that those who have committed acts of sexual abuse must be brought to justice and laments cases in which innocent priests have been falsely accused.

“The bishops will not act based on rumors or gossip, they will act in justice when the facts are presented and allow both the victims and the accused to be heard in accord with civil and ecclesiastical law,” the statement indicates.

It also acknowledges that there are organizations and people who are determined to tarnish the image of the Pope. “We don’t know what motives are driving them, but one thing is clear.  All of this has helped us to rally around the Holy Father and accept, not without sorrow, these cases that have stained the image of the Church.  But we are certain that the Lord will use this 'Way of the Cross' to purify the institution that is founded in Christ who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.”

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