WASHINGTON (March 8, 2002) -- Belleville Bishop Wilton D. Gregory, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, made the following statement about today's announcement by Bishop Anthony J. O'Connell of Palm Beach.
"In my name and the name of all of the Bishops of the United States, I want to express our profound sorrow and regret that one of our brothers, Bishop Anthony O'Connell of Palm Beach, has confirmed news accounts that earlier in his priesthood he was involved in the abuse of a minor.
"Our prayers go out to all of the individuals and communities who have been hurt by Bishop O'Connell's actions, especially to Christopher Dixon and his family and loved ones, to the laity, religious, deacons and priests of Palm Beach who have had to face this crisis for the second times in four years, and to Bishop O'Connell.
"This is a very difficult time for the Church in the United States. On behalf of the bishops, I renew our pledge to work towards eliminating this kind of misconduct from the life of the Catholic Church in our country."