Bishop Confirms Commitment to the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People

Bishop McManus

 

August 16, 2018

Dear friends in Christ, 
     There have been a number of recent news stories from around the country and around the globe revealing reports of sexual abuse of minors by clergy over many decades and how some bishops did not take decisive action to remove them from ministry. That such stories continue to emerge is deeply troubling, to say the least. The horrors of the abuse which are detailed in many of these reports demonstrate in shocking manner how utterly disgusting is the crime and sin of sexual abuse of minors. 
     Since arriving in Worcester more than 14 years ago, I have had no more difficult pastoral responsibility as your bishop than to hear first-hand from victims the details of the abuse which took place during their childhood. Listening to the painful burdens which they carried for decades is sometimes more than the human heart can bear. Yet we cannot turn a deaf ear or a blind eye to the abuses which occurred at the hands of clerics and other church workers who used their position and influence to subject innocent children to their perverted desires. It is for this reason that zero tolerance of clergy who have been credibly accused must remain our standard. 
     I do not know what tomorrow will bring as more stories of past abuse from around the world come to light, but there is one thing that I can assure you, my dear people of the Diocese of Worcester. We have been and continue to be committed to responding to victims of past abuse and to the protection of children in our midst today as well as to the reporting of any cases brought to our attention to law enforcement, no matter how many years ago they occurred. The professionals on the Diocesan Review Committee, whose expertise include social work, medicine and law enforcement, have been an invaluable asset to me and our diocesan family as they assist us in vigilantly implementing the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.  
     I ask you to continue to help us to not let any fatigue enter into the Charter's continued implementation. We will continue to insist on background screening of all ordained and lay staff and volunteers, which we have been doing for more than 15 years. We will continue training employees and volunteers in identifying the symptoms of abuse and how to report suspected abuse. We will continue reporting any past or current allegations to law enforcement and cooperate with annual independent audits of our compliance with the Charter. We will continue our commitment to zero tolerance by not returning accused clergy to any ministry and continue to require letters of good standing for any clergy who serve, even temporarily, in our diocese. We will continue to offer therapeutic assistance to victims as recommended by our Victim Assistance Coordinator with the support of our Diocesan Review Committee. 
     Above all, let us always keep the victims of abuse wherever they may be in our prayers as we lift their needs to Jesus, the Divine Physician and Healer of Souls. May God offer them peace in their struggles against the memories and harm which they have endured. 
            With every prayerful best wish, I remain 
  
Sincerely yours in Christ, 
Most Reverend Robert J. McManus 
Bishop of Worcester