Archbishop Vigneron’s response to USCCB statement on actions addressing clergy sexual abuse

Sep 20, 2018
For more information contact:
Holly Fournier,

The Communications Department of the Archdiocese of Detroit shares Archbishop Vigneron’s message in support of planned actions by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops addressing clergy sexual abuse and bishop accountability.

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“I wholeheartedly welcome and support this statement by the Administrative Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). Know that I will continue to work with prayerful diligence in the Archdiocese of Detroit, to ensure we continue our commitment to protecting everyone – especially children – and holding all clergy accountable for their actions, including bishops like myself.

“As a member of the Administrative Committee, I prayerfully accompanied my brother bishops in discussions to develop this message. My input was informed by the many letters I have received from thoughtful individuals sharing words both of encouragement and critique. I feel the pain of the community and am grateful to those who have urged the Church to embrace true reform.

“As is necessary, this statement presents concrete actions that will lead our Church toward a future of increased accountability and healing. We, the bishops of this country, pledge to establish stronger reporting systems for allegations of abuse against bishops; develop clearer policies regarding bishops who have been removed from ministry; and implement a specific code of conduct for bishops regarding sexual abuse. Lastly, we reiterate our full support of an investigation into the conduct of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

“As encouraged as I am by these announcements, I would like to recall a statement I made earlier this summer, which remains true today: ‘We can never become complacent.’ Here in the Archdiocese of Detroit, we must view the actions of the USCCB as inspiration, not as a finish line. To that end, I have asked all priests in the Archdiocese to prayerfully discern our ongoing efforts to prevent clergy sexual abuse in our communities and to accompany victim-survivors on the path toward healing. Later this month, I will meet with priests to hear in-person their thoughts and advice. This input, along with words shared by the faithful, will help shape further adjustments and additions to our diocese’s policies on confronting the crime and sin of sexual abuse. I will share those updates with you in the future.

“The USCCB statement begins with a powerful quote used at the ordination of every bishop: ‘Keep watch over the whole flock in which the Holy Spirit has appointed you to shepherd the Church of God.’ It is with great shame and sorrow that I meditate on the fact that too many leaders of our Church abandoned that vow when they failed to ‘keep watch’ over the most vulnerable in their flocks. I join my brother deacons, priests and bishops in prayer and penance over these evil acts, and I embrace the call for concrete actions. Please pray for me during this time, and be assured of my prayers for you.”

The Most Reverend Allen H. Vigneron
Archbishop of Detroit