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October 18, 2002

Statement of Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua
Regarding Vatican Reply to Norms Written by U.S. Bishops

Bishop Wilton Gregory, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, together with the Holy See announced this morning the establishment of a Mixed Commission comprised of four Bishops from the United States Conference and four representatives from those Vatican offices with competency for matters related to the Charter and Norms approved in Dallas last June. I welcome this collaborative effort which will bring greater clarity and common agreement to the provisions of the Charter as well as to the proposed Norms for which the special approval ("recognitio") of the Holy See was requested.

I wish to emphasize the expressions offered by the Holy See of solidarity with the United States Bishops in responding to the deeply experienced sufferings of the victims and their families as well as the firm condemnation of sexual misdeeds against minors by some members of the clergy. We are all committed to doing everything humanly possible for the protection of children and young people.

This Mixed Commission will work expeditiously through dialogue and prayerful reflection to resolve the areas of concern allowing for the presentation of the results to the Conference of Bishops in November. In communion with the Holy See and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia remains committed to assisting victims in their healing and to assuring the safety of all children and young people.

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Editor's Note: A "mixed commission" is a joint working group made of members of different canonical jurisdictions for a particular purpose. Background and Vatican documents can be found at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website, www.usccb.org (click on What's New) and the Vatican website, www.vatican.va. No media availability for Cardinal Bevilacqua is planned for today.

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