I am aware that the child abuse scandal continues, understandably, to upset people. There are some signs of hope. The recent meeting of officers of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops with the Pope and his calling for a general meeting of the presidents of all the bishops’ conferences to deal with the issue indicate a high level of concern.
People are looking for accountability. Sometimes it is hard to provide accountability for events that occurred years ago. The Illinois Attorney General s recently announced inquiry into diocesan records, with which we have agreed to assist, may help. Meanwhile, we need to keep focused on our highest priorities of trying to bring haling to those who have been hurt and preventing future abuse.
As the chief shepherd of the Diocese of Joliet I am firmly committed to the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People” and its “Essential Norms”, most especially the reporting of all allegations of child sexual abuse to the proper civil authorities, along with the observance of other pertinent stat laws, and the removal of all perpetrators from ministry. Sometimes people have their own expectations, but we have to work with objective standards.
I admit that I am discouraged that we are at this sad moment in our history. I worry about those who have been abused and those whose faith has been shaken. I rely on the Lord, through prayer, to help me and to heal our Church. I invite you to do the same.
Most Reverend R. Daniel Conlon
Bishop of Joliet