NC Bishop Calls for Healing As Diocese Prepares to Release Abuse Report

Star News [Charlotte NC]
Downloaded February 26, 2004

All church members have been victimized by the sexual abuse of children by priests, the head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte said during a packed Ash Wednesday Mass.

"Some clergy did not live up to their calling to be an image of Christ the good shepherd," Bishop Peter Jugis said at St. Patrick Cathedral. "And this has had a profound effect on our entire church community.

"St. Paul wrote that when one member of the body suffers, all the members suffer with it," Jugis said. "And we all are suffering with those who have been the victims of this immoral behavior."

Jugis noted in his homily that Pope John Paul II has asked Roman Catholics to reflect on children this season.

"Welcoming children," Jugis said, "is a way of welcoming Christ."

Jugis, the spiritual leader of 140,000 Catholics in 46 western North Carolina counties, said U.S. bishops will release their much-anticipated report Friday detailing claims of sexual misconduct since 1950.

The Charlotte diocese will also release its numbers Friday. The Raleigh diocese previously reported 32 abuse claims against 15 clergy.

Jugis did not cover any current cases in his homily.

The Rev. Gregory Littleton was removed Friday from Charlotte's Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church after diocese officials found accusations against him in another diocese "credible," according to acting spokesman David Hains.