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Vatican Spokesman Comments on the Recent Debate Concerning Sexual Abuse

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Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi, S.J., commented on April 9 regarding recent news items and comments that have surfaced concerning sexual abuse of minors.

In commenting on Fr. Lombardi’s statement, the Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge, Bishop of Raleigh, noted that the article conveys significant information and encouraged all those in our Diocese to read the article in its entirety.

In addition, Bishop Burbidge reasserted his commitment “to continue a comprehensive effort to maintain safe environments for all those entrusted to our pastoral care.” Nationally, more than 1.7 million clergy, educators, employees and volunteers have been trained in how to create safe environments and prevent child sexual abuse. The Church has equipped 5.7 million children with the skills to help protect themselves from abuse. And the Church has conducted more than 1,500,000 background checks on volunteers and employees, 163,705 on educators, 51,000 on clerics and 4,955 candidates for ordination. In the Diocese of Raleigh, in the last five years, more than 13,000 people have been trained in recognizing and reporting child sexual abuse. Each year, more than 20,000 safe environment resource packets are sent to parents with children enrolled in Catholic schools and parish faith formation programs. In 2009, 12,092 background checks were completed on Church personnel, including clergy, employees and lay volunteers.

Noting that in April the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and the Diocese of Raleigh join in observing National Child Abuse Prevention Month, the Bishop said, “We will continue to adhere to the Charter for Protection of Children and Young People from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and to utilize the lived experience of our Diocesan family to guide our parishes in maintaining a safe environment. As we diligently work together to fulfill this commitment, join me in continuing to pray for those who have been harmed through abuse in the past and as we safeguard our children and young people today.” Bishop Burbidge also asked that we continue to pray as individuals, families and parish communities for all those who have been victims of sexual abuse and in need of healing; and for our Holy Father and all Church leaders that we remain steadfast in our ongoing commitment to respond pastorally and spiritually to all victims and their families and to do all that is humanly possible to eradicate all forms of sexual abuse within the Church and our society.  

For more information regarding our Diocesan observance of National Child Abuse Prevention Month, see the Office of Child and Youth Protection.