August 14, 2018
Philadelphia archbishop Charles Chaput released this message in the wake of the Pennsylvania grand jury report on priest sexual abuse:
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Dear Friends in Christ,
The grand jury report released by the State Attorney General’s office features material that is painful to read.
The pain is felt most acutely by those who have suffered sexual abuse and their loved ones, and the Church is deeply sorry for their experience. Recognizing their suffering and maintaining our commitment to assisting those who have been harmed is an essential step toward healing.
It is important to note that the recent Grand Jury did not investigate the Archdiocese of Philadelphia or our clergy. Therefore we are not part of the report.
The work undertaken in Philadelphia over the past 15 years has resulted in dramatically safer environments for all those in our care.
I want to reaffirm as forcefully as I can that we have a zero tolerance policy for clergy, lay employees, or volunteers who engage in the abuse of children or other misconduct with minors. We take immediate action when an allegation of misconduct is made. We report all alleged criminal activity to law enforcement authorities, and we cooperate with them fully.
Research and experience have shown that sexual abuse plagues every corner of society from sports and public institutions, to the entertainment industry and the political arena. The Church has learned much from her past mistakes and continues to work hard to correct them. Prevention of abuse comes from training and constant vigilance, and the prevention of abuse – along with support for survivors – is and will remain a constant priority of our Church.
Sincerely yours in Jesus Christ,
Most Reverend Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.
Archbishop of Philadelphia