Archbishop Vigneron on the latest abuse study

From The Most Reverend Allen H. Vigneron, Archbishop | Issued May 18, 2011

The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, adopted by the U.S. bishops in 2002, called for two studies on the issue of clergy sexual abuse in the United States. The John Jay College for Criminal Justice conducted both studies; the first, The Nature and Scope of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests and Deacons in the United States 1950-2002, was completed in 2004. In May 2011, the John Jay College released the second study, The Causes and Context of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests and Deacons in the United States 1950-2010.

A study this comprehensive is both sobering and significant. It's yet another indicator to keep us vigilant in our efforts for the protection of children and youth. Most importantly, we need to continue to respond to, and assist, those who have been victimized. Our pastoral support must be unwavering; victims need to be confident in coming forward to us, regardless of when the abuse might have occurred.

Many of the conclusions of the John Jay Study on Causes and Context are, regrettably, familiar to us. And they are concerns we, by way of our Archdiocesan Review Board, have addressed over the past decade. The Detroit archdiocese continues to be well-served by our practice of reporting each and every complaint we receive to civil authorities and to the Review Board.

After reading the complete report, my intention is to share it with the Review Board members and with my chief collaborators in our administrative offices, our parishes and schools, and Sacred Heart Major Seminary. My request to them will be to consider the totality of the study and to report back to me on what they have learned, and what they would propose as next steps in this difficult, but absolutely necessary, ministry.