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ROME—Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has issued the following statement on the final day of a four-day meeting attended by Presidents of Bishops’ Conferences from across the globe. Cardinal DiNardo’s full statement follows:
“The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth.” – Psalm 145:18
“These have been challenging, fruitful days. The witness of survivors revealed for us, again, the deep wound in the Body of Christ. Listening to their testimonies transforms your heart. I saw that in the faces of my brother bishops. We owe survivors an unyielding vigilance that we may never fail them again.

How then to bind the wounds? Intensify the Dallas Charter. Pope Francis, whom I want to thank for this assembly, called us to ‘concrete and
effective measures.’ A range of presenters from cardinals to other bishops to religious sisters to lay women spoke about a code of conduct for
bishops, the need to establish specific protocols for handling accusations against bishops, user-friendly reporting mechanisms and the essential
role transparency must play in the healing process.

Achieving these goals will require the active involvement and collaboration of the laity. The Church needs their prayers, expertise, and ideas. As we have learned from diocesan review boards, a comprehensive range of skills is required to assess allegations and to ensure that local policies and procedures are regularly reviewed so that our healing response continues to be effective. All of the models discussed this week rely upon the good help of God’s people.

I and the bishops of the United States felt affirmed in the work that is underway. Enhanced by what I experienced here, we will prepare to advance proposals, in communion with the Holy See, in each of these areas so that my brother bishops can consider them at our June General Assembly. There is an urgency in the voice of the survivors to
which we must always respond. I am also aware that our next steps can be a solid foundation from which to serve also seminarians, religious
women, and all those who might live under the threat of sexual abuse or the abuse of power.

In our faith, we experience the agony of Good Friday. It can cause a sense of isolation and abandonment, but the Resurrection is God’s healing promise. In binding the wounds now before us, we will encounter the Risen Lord. In Him alone is all hope and healing. May I also add a sincere word of thanks to the many who prayed for me and for all that this meeting be
a success.”

Pope Francis has responded to the reports of clerical sexual abuse and the ecclesial cover-up of abuse. In an impassioned letter addressed to the whole People of God, he calls on the Church to be close to victims in solidarity and to join in acts of prayer and fasting in penance for such “atrocities”.

Read Bishop Noonan’s full statement in English or Español.

Read the full letter from Pope Francis’ or the summary of his response.

Read the statement from the USCCB.

Learn more about our Safe Environment training and fingerprinting policies in the Diocese of Orlando in English or Español.

Response from Fr. David

Throughout the month of September we will include excerpts from the Diocese of Orlando Child Sex Abuse and Prevention policies and procedures guide to give us a better understanding of what to look for and what to do in the case of child sexual misconduct.

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
…Our Church has always welcomed families. It is where children can learn, grow, and be nurtured. Creating a safe place for everyone, especially for our children, is very important to me. It is an ongoing process that does not happen by just writing policies or reading them. Creating a safe place requires each of us to take action to protect our children. The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, and the strength of our own policies of this Diocese, are a first step in keeping our Church a safe haven. I assure you that in these policies, we have very strong wording to safeguard our vulnerable populations.
Bishop John Noonan
Diocese of Orlando

Common Myths about Child Sexual Abuse
Here are some common myths about sexual abuse and information to help you understand the facts:
•The myth is only girls are sexually abused.
•The fact is that many sexually abused children are boys, but these abuses are not reported as often.
•The myth is that strangers are the most frequent perpetrators of sexual abuse.
•The fact is that 80% of molested children are abused by a person they KNOW. About 51% of these perpetrators are NATURAL PARENTS.
•The myth is that most cases of sexual abuse are reported.
•The fact is that only 1 in 10 to 1 in 20 incidents are reported, and even fewer are reported if the perpetrator is a relative.

For more information please contact the Victim Assistance Coordinator, Diocese of Orlando, 50 E. Robinson St. Orlando FL 32801 or call 407-246-7179.
If you suspect abuse please call the Child Abuse Hotline immediately at 800-962-2873.