WASHINGTON (November 1, 2002) -- Bishop Wilton D. Gregory, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued the following statement on the results of the meeting of the Mixed Commission on Sexual Abuse of Children and Young People, November 1.
"Norms for Diocesan/Eparchial Policies Dealing with Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Clergy or Other Church Personnel, which the USCCB sent to the Holy See for its recognitio, substantially confirms the decisions made at the June general meeting of the U.S. Catholic Bishops.
"Contrary to many news reports, the Holy See did not reject or even 'soften' this work. In fact, it is the foundation for what will become 'particular law' in the Catholic Church in the United States, if the revised norms are approved by the USCCB and receive the Holy See's recognitio. This law will be complementary to the universal law of the Church, which itself treats the matter of sexual abuse of minors with the utmost gravity.
"This 'particular law' will provide every diocese in the country with standards in canon law for protecting children and young people, reaching out to victims, assessing allegations against clergy, with the benefit of the advice of competent lay persons, and for keeping permanently from ministry anyone who would harm children.
"In elaborating the canonical procedures to be used in dealing with allegations of sexual abuse of minors, the Holy See has shown a legitimate concern for the rights of the accused while fully supporting the obligation of the bishops, in the governance of their dioceses, to ensure these rights and the right of the faithful to be protected."