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December 17, 2003

Cardinal Justin Rigali
Archbishop of Philadelphia
17,000 Trained - New Review of Old Cases

In today's edition of the archdiocesan newspaper, The Catholic Standard and Times, the Archdiocese offers additional information about the ongoing efforts to implement the United States Bishops' Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, the Essential Norms and the archdiocesan Alvaré Commission Report (Commission on the Protection of Children and Clerical Conduct). Also reported was the removal from priestly ministry of four archdiocesan priests. In these four cases, it has been determined that there are credible allegations of sexual misconduct with minors which took place many years ago.

This decision is a necessary one for the protection of young people and the welfare of the Church. My prayers are offered for the victims, their families, those faith communities that are affected and our priests. I take this occasion to offer my deep apologies on behalf of the Church to all victims of child sexual abuse. The Archdiocese remains committed to its long- standing efforts to reach out and provide pastoral care to victims.

I recognize how deeply painful these matters are to the faithful. I reaffirm that the Archdiocese is doing and will continue to do all in its power to ensure the protection of our children and young people. The efforts, taken over the years particularly under Cardinal Bevilacqua as well as those going on now, represent the intense desire of the Archdiocese to respond pastorally and compassionately to victims of abuse and their families, to ensure a safe environment for our children and youth, as well as to respect the rights of all parties.

I express my deepest gratitude to all the faithful priests who serve their people selflessly in the work of the Gospel. I appreciate fully how deeply they and their ministry are affected by such announcements concerning brother priests. In this season of Advent with its hope-filled call to repentance and renewal, let us welcome anew the saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.


Catherine L. Rossi
Director of Communications

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