Archbishop praises USCCB votes on accountability

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June 13, 2019

During the last day of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ June 11-13 gathering in Baltimore, the bishops voted to implement a series of measures to strengthen accountability and reporting protocols in cases of bishops accused of committing sexual misconduct or shielding abusers. The protocols follow closely with the guidelines issued in May by Pope Francis, in his motu proprio “Vos Estis Lux Mundi,” (Latin for "You are the light of the world,") which also addressed the importance of involving the laity.

Among the protocols approved on Thursday are a third-party reporting system allowing people to make confidential reports of sexual misconduct against bishops; the implementation of an oversight model that affirms the responsibility of “metropolitan bishops” — archbishops within a given territory — in investigations of accused bishops; and a system of measures to restrict the ministry of retired bishops accused of sexual abuse or negligence. More details about these plans can be found at detroitcatholic.com.

Archbishop of Detroit Allen H. Vigneron responded Thursday with praise for the various measures:

"This series of procedures is a major step in our work to establish clear protocols for the reporting and processing of accusations against bishops who abuse children and vulnerable adults or who shield abusers. As metropolitan archbishop of the Province of Michigan – the seven Catholic dioceses in the state – I am committed to implementing a process rooted in transparency and accountability for all. The faithful deserve nothing less. Most gratifying to me is the call to include lay people in this important work. That is absolutely essential.

"We will begin work immediately in the Archdiocese of Detroit to finalize and begin implementing these procedures. As this process unfolds, I want to emphasize to the priests and people of southeast Michigan that they do not have to wait to bring forward an allegation against any bishop, priest, deacon or Church leader. As always, individuals with knowledge of abuse or misconduct by anyone in the Church are urged to contact law enforcement. Regarding complaints against bishops, individuals also may contact my office or the Holy See's embassy in the United States, the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington, D.C."

Note: Individuals with knowledge of sexual abuse by clergy or other Church representatives are urged to contact local law enforcement and/or the Michigan Attorney General’s Office. Individuals also may contact the Archdiocese of Detroit by visiting protect.aod.org, calling the toll-free, 24/7 victim assistance line at (866) 343-8055 or by emailing vac@aod.org.

Individuals with complaints about a bishop may contact Archbishop Vigneron’s office at (313) 237-5816 or the Holy See’s embassy in the United States, the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington, D.C. at (202) 333-7121 or nuntiususa@nuntiususa.org.

There are no time limits or restrictions on individuals wishing to report abuse to the Archdiocese of Detroit. Be it five, 15, or 50 years later, our diocese accepts, responds to and forwards all reports to law enforcement.

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Contact: Ned McGrath
(313) 237-5943
proffice@aod.org