The Catholic Bishops of Pennsylvania issued the following statement today:

Since the release of the grand jury report on August 14, we the Catholic bishops of Pennsylvania have reflected deeply on the ugly record of clergy sexual abuse in our Commonwealth, and on times when Church leadership failed to protect our people over a period of decades.

We fully acknowledge that the Church sometimes failed the most vulnerable among us — children and young adults. We deeply regret the suffering of survivors and any decisions that failed to protect them.

As the Pennsylvania General Assembly returns for the fall legislative session, assuring the protection of children and help for survivors of sexual abuse should rightly be one of its top priorities. As various alternatives and programs are proposed, we will support all reasonable and constitutional efforts focused on helping survivors and their families on a path toward healing.

We recognize our responsibility to provide an opportunity for sexual abuse survivors whose cases are time-barred from pursuing civil claims to share their experiences, identify their abusers, and receive compensation to assist their healing and recovery.

To that end, we commit ourselves to creating or participating in an independent, voluntary program that will include a panel of qualified experts to review individual cases and determine financial assistance.  We understand that this compensation program will require substantial fiscal commitment and all dioceses will be seriously impacted. We stress that it is most important for all experts serving on this panel to be independent of the influence of the Church or of any institution in which children may have been abused.

We believe such a program will expedite the process for survivors to present their cases to experienced, compassionate experts who will determine an outcome for each case in a swift, efficient manner. In doing so, the panel will provide a resolution to survivors and allow them to avoid difficult and prolonged litigation. We believe an independent panel is the best option, considering a window or reviver of the statute of limitations will inevitably result in bankruptcy for dioceses. Bankruptcy would cripple the ability of a diocese to provide compensation and healing for survivors, while vastly reducing or eliminating social service programs that greatly benefit all Pennsylvanians by serving some of the most at-risk people in our communities.

We hope that as the program develops it will be open to any youth service organization, private or public, to opt into it to fulfill its obligations to survivors of abuse. We welcome legislative support for such a program.

We cannot undo the harm that childhood sexual abuse has caused, but in humility and repentance we hope the path forward offers a way toward healing for survivors and their families.

September 20 – Confirmation, St. Rose of Lima Parish, Carbondale; Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish, Carbondale; and St. John Vianney Parish, Montdale; at St. Rose of Lima Church, Carbondale, 5:00 p.m.

September 21 – Inauguration of Reverend Scott R. Pilarz, S.J., 27th President of the University of Scranton, 11:00 a.m.

September 23 – Mass, 50th Anniversary of Our Lady of Victory Parish, Tannersville, 3:00 p.m.

September 24 – Mass, Diocesan Teachers’ Institute, Our Lady of Fatima Parish at St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Church, Wilkes-Barre, 9:00 a.m.

September 26-27 – Provincial Meeting of Pennsylvania Bishops, Harrisburg

September 29 – Mass, Rite of Lector for Permanent Deacon Candidates, Diocesan Pastoral Center, Scranton, 12:10 p.m.

September 30 – Confirmation, St. Vincent DePaul Parish, Milford, 4:00 p.m.

October 1 – Confirmation, St. Luke Parish, Stroudsburg, 5:00 p.m.

October 3 – 150th Anniversary Regional School Mass, Notre Dame System, Our Lady of Victory Church, Tannersville, 9:30 a.m.

October 4 – Confirmation, Annunciation Parish, Hazleton; Queen of Heaven Parish, Hazleton; and Holy Name of Jesus Parish, West Hazleton; at St. Gabriel Church, Hazleton, 5:00 p.m.

October 5 – Red Mass, Diocesan Pastoral Center, Scranton, 12:10 p.m.

October 7 – Respect Life Sunday Mass, St. Peter’s Cathedral, Scranton, 10:00 a.m.

October 9-11 – U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Ecumenical and Interfaith Affairs Meeting, Chicago


In his recent letter to the people of God, Pope Francis called on the Catholic community worldwide to acknowledge past sins and mistakes with a penitential openness, and to be involved “in the ecclesial and social change that we so greatly need. This change calls us to see things as the Lord does, to be where the Lord wants us to be, to experience a conversion of heart in his presence.”

In response to the Holy Father’s invitation to a penitential exercise of prayer and fasting, the Diocese of Scranton is observing a time of Atonement and Healing. As part of this observance, Bishop Joseph C. Bambera will celebrate a Mass on Saturday, September 15, at 12:10 p.m. in the Diocesan Pastoral Center in Scranton.

All are welcome to participate. CTV: Catholic Television will broadcast the Mass live.

Also, to foster a communal expression of this commitment, Bishop Bambera has asked all parishes to consider a 24-hour period beginning the evening of Friday, September 14 – the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross. This time of Atonement and Healing will continue throughout the day on Saturday, September 15 – the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows. Parishes have been provided with resources to assist in planning for individual, family, parish and Diocesan-level participation.

A letter from Bishop Bambera and resources for this observance can found here: Day of Atonement and Healing


His Excellency, Bishop Joseph C. Bambera, announces the following appointment, effective as indicated:


Reverend Michael S. Drevitch, from Leave of Absence, to Assistant Pastor, Saint John the Evangelist Parish, Honesdale, effective September 1, 2018.

September 6-9 – National Advisory Council Meeting, Baltimore, Md.

September 10-12 – Administrative Committee Meeting, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, D.C.

September 13 – Mass of the Holy Spirit, Diocesan Pastoral Center, 12:10 p.m.

September 18 – Confirmation, Saint Boniface and Saint Joseph the Worker Parishes, Saint Boniface Church, Williamsport, 5:00 p.m.

September 20 – Confirmation, Saint Rose of Lima Parish, Carbondale, 5:00 p.m.