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Cardinal, Bishop Knestout Meet with Survivors of Clergy Sexual Abuse

Bishop Barry C. Knestout of Richmond, Va., listens to a speaker during the spring general assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore June 12, 2019. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

June 13, 2019

BALTIMORE (CNS) — Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, along with Bishop Timothy L. Doherty of Lafayette, chairman of the bishops’ Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People, and Bishop Barry C. Knestout of Richmond, Virginia, member of the Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People, met with three survivors of clergy sexual abuse late June 12.

The meeting took place as the U.S. bishops were gathered in Baltimore for their spring general assembly June 11-13 where they focused on implementing bishop accountability measures in response to the abuse crisis in the church.

In a statement released after the meeting, Cardinal DiNardo said he and his fellow bishops were “grateful for the opportunity to meet with a group of survivors. Their testimony reminds us of the unfathomable pain they have endured, and the need for vigilance in extinguishing the evil of sexual abuse from our church once and for all.”

He said that, during their spring assembly, the bishops sought to “expand and intensify existing policies in order to care for victims and prevent future instances of these crimes, holding not only clergy accountable but also ourselves as bishops. Our work will not conclude until the number of sexual abuse cases is zero.”

On the morning of June 13, Bishop Doherty tweeted about the how the bishops and some USCCB staff who met with the survivors “were reminded that this week’s meeting is not an abstract exercise.”

“Thanks to the hurting who speak to us. My experience is that God comes to these conversations invited or uninvited,” he added.