WASHINGTON (April 19, 2002) -- Bishop Wilton D. Gregory of Belleville, IL, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, has expanded the USCCB Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Abuse and named Archbishop Harry J. Flynn of St. Paul and Minneapolis as its Chairman.
Archbishop Flynn is well know for his work in helping to bring healing to the Diocese of Lafayette, Louisiana, when he was appointed there following incidents of abuse in the 1980s. He was a member of the original Committee appointed in 1993. His appointment is part of a planned enlargement and reconstitution of the Committee.
Also appointed to the Ad Hoc Committee was Archbishop John J. Myers of Newark.
As Chairman, Archbishop Flynn succeeds Bishop John B. McCormack of Manchester, NH, who indicated that due to the press of diocesan business, he would not be able to oversee this reconstitution. He will remain a member of the committee. Bishop Gregory thanked Bishop McCormack for his two years of service on the committee.
In announcing the appointments, Bishop Gregory recalled that last March the Administrative Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Abuse to review and report on recommendations leading to "a comprehensive response on the national level" to ensure "the safety of children and the healing of victims and their families."
"The addition of Archbishop Flynn and Archbishop Myers will be an enormous help to the committee in carrying out this crucial task," Bishop Gregory said.
Archbishop Flynn, 68, was appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis in 1994 and became head of the Archdiocese in 1995.
In an article in the April 22 issue of America magazine, Archbishop Flynn wrote of the current crisis over sex abuse in the Church and also of his efforts to bring healing to victims of abuse when he was appointed Coadjutor Bishop of the Diocese of Lafayette, Louisiana, in 1986.
"It is clear that the Church is facing an opportunity to renew its relationship with its people, to restore trust and to strengthen its commitment to the faithful," Archbishop Flynn wrote. "We are confronting a wonderful opportunity for ultimate healing and for the beginning of a new era in the church, an era of unshakeable faith and the emergence of a church stronger and more full of love and hope than we humanly could ever have imagined."
"Restoring the trust of the people must first begin with the victims and their families," he said.