Statement by Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge, Bishop of Arlington on accusations related to Archbishop Theodore McCarrick:
Over the past weeks I, alongside so many others, have been deeply upset to hear of credible and substantiated allegations of sexual abuse by then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. As more accusations have come forward, with stunning similarity and detail, Cardinal McCarrick offered his resignation from the College of Cardinals. Pope Francis directed now-Archbishop McCarrick to live in private, observing prayer and penance until a canonical trial is carried out.
While the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People (2002) altered the way the Church in the U.S. deals with allegations against priests, much more is needed. For 16 years, dioceses around the country have implemented unprecedented protocols to encourage reporting of allegations and suspicions of sexual abuse by priests and deacons, as well as to investigate such accusations thoroughly, independently and transparently. Clearly, these procedures and policies need to be reflected in the conduct of bishops as well and how we relate to one another. We all must be held accountable for our actions—bishops are no exception.
I ask all in the Diocese of Arlington to join me in prayer for our Church. Pray, most especially, for victims of sexual abuse, that they experience the healing presence of God.
We must remember that when it seems like the Church has failed us, it is the fallible human beings within the Church, and even some leading the Church, who have failed; not the Church itself. It is the Lord who leads, guides and protects his people and Church. It is only when we lose sight of him that we stumble. May we renew our commitment to the Lord and his power to heal us and to transform us in his saving love.
Mary, Mother of the Church, pray for us.
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