You may be aware from media coverage this past week of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report on sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests that Bishop Barres was referenced in the report stemming from his time as the Bishop of Allentown. The report accuses Bishop Barres of not dealing decisively with accusations against priests, one priest in particular. To be absolutely clear, what the report presents regarding Bishop Barres is inaccurate and misleading on key facts. During his time as the Bishop of Allentown, Bishop Barres was, in fact, as vigilant as he is now about identifying and removing abusive priests and protecting God’s children. We urge everyone to take home and read the full statement regarding the inaccuracies in the report. The statement is also available on the diocesan website at www.drvc.org.
The abuse of any human being – particularly of children – is a terrible sin and a crime. It should not happen anywhere and it most particularly should not happen in the Catholic Church. The fact that it did is disgraceful and the Bishop is committed to removing any abusers and keeping out future ones. And we continue to pray and work toward healing for survivors of abuse. The Pennsylvania report looks back at 70 years. It is important to note the progress that has been made since 2002. It is also important to be accurate when reporting on or speaking about the record of Church leaders who have confronted these terrible issues. Clearly, the Church’s vigilance in this area can never cease, and, in fact must always be expanded.