Statement by the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales
Press release Issued by the CBCEW
Child abuse in the Catholic Church has been such a focus of public attention recently, that we, the Bishops of England and Wales, wish to address this issue directly and unambiguously.
Catholics are members of a single universal body. These terrible crimes, and the inadequate response by some church leaders, grieve us all.
Our first thoughts are for all who have suffered from the horror of these crimes, which inflict such severe and lasting wounds. They are uppermost in our prayer. The distress we feel at what has happened is nothing in comparison with the suffering of those who have been abused.
The criminal offences committed by some priests and religious are a profound scandal. They bring deep shame to the whole church. But shame is not enough. The abuse of children is a grievous sin against God. Therefore we focus not on shame but on our sorrow for these sins. They are the personal sins of only a very few. But we are bound together in the Body of Christ and, therefore, their sins touch us all.