Bishops gathered for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops General Meeting in Baltimore. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

The Diocese of Scranton is committed to protecting its young people and ensuring that the local Church of Scranton continues to address issues of child sexual abuse with vigilance and fidelity.

Bishop Joseph C. Bambera attended the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops General Meeting in Baltimore from June 11-13, 2019 and voted in favor of the four new policies/procedures that were proposed during the meeting.

During that meeting, the USCCB overwhelming voted to approve proposals to hold bishops accountable for instances of sexual abuse of children or vulnerable persons, sexual misconduct, or the intentional mishandling of such cases. The bishops also re-committed themselves to involving and utilizing lay professional experts, which is already the practice of the Diocese of Scranton.

The bishops approved four important measures during their assembly. They include:

  • Voting to implement the document “Vos Estis Lux Mundi” (“You are the light of the world”) which was issued by Pope Francis in May to help the Catholic Church safeguard its members from abuse and hold its leaders accountable.
  • Approving the document “Acknowledging Our Episcopal Commitments,” in which bishops affirmed the commitments they made at ordination, including the commitment to respond directly and appropriately to cases of sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable persons.
  • Voting for a protocol regarding non-penal restrictions on bishops which outlines what canonical options are available to bishops when a retired bishop resigns or is removed “due to sexual misconduct with adults or grave negligence of office, or where subsequent to his resignation he was found to have so acted or failed to act.”
  • Establishing an independent third-party reporting system to accept abuse allegations confidentially, by phone or online. A more detailed proposal for the third-party reporting system, including financial and structural elements, is in the planning process. The reporting system would begin no later than May 31, 2020 but bishops are hoping it can be available sooner. It’s important to note that anyone who has suffered sexual abuse should not wait for the national reporting system to be in place. Survivors can contact local civil authorities to file a report as soon as possible and may also report to Church authorities by existing means, including contacting Victim Asisstance Coordinator, Mary Beth Pacuska at (570) 862-7551 or Vicar General Monsignor Thomas M. Muldowney at (570) 207-2269.

These efforts are the latest in a series of steps the Diocese of Scranton and the Church has taken to respond to the sin of sexual abuse.

 

Flames and smoke billow from the Notre Dame Cathedral after a fire broke out in Paris April 15, 2019. Officials said the cause was not clear, but that the fire could be linked to renovation work. (CNS photo/Benoit Tessier, Reuters)

“The tragic fire at Notre Dame Cathedral strikes the hearts of not only the worldwide Catholic community, but of all people of faith and good will, as this treasured house of worship that has seemed so timeless in its enduring presence is changed forever.

I was privileged to visit Notre Dame Cathedral with my mother and father in 1993 and again with several priests of the Diocese of Scranton in 1997.  The loss of this grand and noble sacred place in so many respects is a reminder of just how important our own parish churches are to us as we journey through life.

For as devastating as this loss may appear to be, as Christians we profess that there is always hope through our faith in Jesus’ life, death and resurrection – the same faith that gave the great Notre Dame Cathedral its soul and life!

Please join me in praying for the protection of the firefighters and first responders in Paris who are working to battle the fire. Our prayers also go out to the Church and our brothers and sisters in the Archdiocese of Paris.”

Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, D.D., J.C.L.