RESOLUTION November 1992
[Transcribed from Pastoral Letters and Statements of the United
States Catholic Bishops, Volume VI, 1989-1997, ed. Hugh Joseph
Nolan and Patrick W. Carey (Washington, D.C.: United States Catholic
Conference, 1998), pp. 484-85. See also the original
released version of the Resolution, as preserved in the Tom
Gathered in general assembly, we the members of the National Conference
of Catholic Bishops express our profound concern for all those who
have been victims of sexual abuse, particularly when that abuse
has been committed by a member of the clergy.
The president of our conference, at the close of our assembly last
June, spoke clearly and eloquently to this subject with our assent.
We reaffirm that statement here, and recognize that policies to
address the grave issues presented by this problem are in place
throughout our country. [See Archbishop
Daniel E. Pilarczyk's Statement, June 20, 1992. Pilarczyk in
turn cites a statement by Mark E. Chopko, General Counsel for the
U.S. Catholic Conference, February 9, 1988 (see versions 1
3 in our collection), and a statement by the Administrative
Committee of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, November
5, 1989 (see versions 1 2 in our
In the course of our assembly this week, we have reflected—once
again and more deeply—upon the pain, anguish, and sense of
alienation felt by victims.
At the same time, we affirm the thousands of good, holy, and dedicated
priests who minister faithfully to God's people.
We pledge ourselves to one another to return to our dioceses and
there to examine carefully and prayerfully our response to sexual
abuse; to assure ourselves that our response is appropriate and
effective; and to be certain that our people are aware of and confident
in that response.
Among the elements to be considered for ongoing response, we continue
to recommend the following:
||Respond promptly to
all allegations of abuse where there is reasonable belief that
abuse has occurred.
||If such an allegation is supported
by sufficient evidence, relieve the alleged offender promptly
of his ministerial duties and refer him for appropriate medical
evaluation and intervention.
||Comply with the obligations of civil
law as regards reporting of the incident and cooperating with
||Reach out to the victims and their
families and communicate our sincere commitment to their spiritual
and emotional well-being.
||Within the confines of respect for
the privacy of the individuals involved, deal as openly as possible
with members of the community.
In these days of our assembly we are reminded again that all our
actions should show our Church as a living, caring, and healing
Church. We pledge again our care and concern for all victims of
abuse, wherever and however it occurs. We commit ourselves anew
to bring the healing ministry of our Church to our people, to dialogue
and pray with all who have suffered, and to foster opportunities
of Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk issued June 20, 1992