May 9, 2019
The Department of Communications of the Archdiocese of Detroit shares the following statement from Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron, regarding the release Thursday of Pope Francis’ Motu Proprio – an edict or law issued by the Holy Father and applicable to the global Church. Called Vos estis lux mundi, (Latin for “You are the light of the world”), the law addresses the Church’s need for increased accountability among bishops and protection for those who report sexual crimes and misconduct.
I welcome our Holy Father’s Motu Proprio and its clear directives for universal accountability in response to the horrors of clergy sexual abuse. As the Metropolitan bishop and head of the Province – the seven Catholic dioceses in the State of Michigan – I stand ready and eager to implement the Holy Father’s directives and to continue advancing our local efforts to eradicate the crime and sins of sexual abuse from the Church. I also look forward to using the Holy Father’s directives as a framework for expanded action following the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) meeting this June. We will hold accountable for their actions all those who would cause harm – no matter their position in the Church.
I am deeply sorry to all those who have been injured and are enduring a lifetime of physical, emotional and spiritual suffering because of perverse actions by those in authority. No one is above civil law and importantly, no one is above God’s law. All the faithful deserve our best and swiftest actions, especially those who have been harmed. Even one incidence of abuse to a child of God is too many.
In the Archdiocese of Detroit, we believe that transparency and accountability are essential for healing and rebuilding trust. We also know that we cannot – and should not – handle this alone, so we continue to report abuse to law enforcement. I am grateful for my clergy and lay collaborators who are working with me for justice and healing. Through prayer, action and the power of the Holy Spirit, we yearn and work toward a holier Church.
Archbishop Vigneron also shares his support and endorsement of the response from Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the USCCB.
Individuals with knowledge of sexual abuse by clergy or Church representatives are urged to contact local law enforcement and the Michigan Attorney General’s office. Individuals also may contact the Archdiocese of Detroit by visiting protect.aod.org.