National Statement — Voice of the Faithful Challenges U.S. Bishops to Follow Martin & O’Malley’s Lead

NEWTON, Mass., Mar. 2, 2011 – Voice of the Faithful, the worldwide organization working for Roman Catholic Church reform, challenges U.S. bishops to follow the example of Irish Archbishop Diarmuid Martin and Cardinal Sean O’Malley, archbishop of Boston, who led a “Liturgy of Lament and Repentance,” Feb. 20, in St. Mary’s Pro-Cathedral, Dublin, Ireland.

Lengthy reports of horrific child sexual abuse were read during the Mass itself, and several survivors rose spontaneously to add their personal stories of being abused by clergy.

Martin called the liturgy just a first step, indicating much more must be done to heal wounds caused by clergy sexual abuse. O’Malley asked forgiveness on behalf of the pope “for the sexual abuse of children perpetrated by priests and the past failures of the Church’s hierarchy, here and in Rome, the failure to respond appropriately to the problem of sexual abuse,” adding, “the Church needs to put the survivors of abuse ahead of “self-interest, reputation and institutional needs.”

VOTF calls on U.S. bishops to hold at least one such ceremony of healing and repentance in each American diocese before the end of 2011.

“We hope that, with their actions, Archbishops Martin and O’Malley have shown true compassion toward victims,” said Dan Bartley, VOTF president, “and we challenge all U.S. bishops to take a public stand placing support for clergy sexual abuse survivors before the institutional interests of the Church. We also challenge any bishop who participated in these cover-ups to seek forgiveness and to resign, thereby holding accountable those in power who would minimize, cover-up or perpetuate these crimes.”

Voice of the Faithful
Voice of the Faithful is a worldwide movement of concerned mainstream Roman Catholics working to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse, support priests of integrity and shape structural change within the Church. More information is at

Nick Ingala, Public Relations Director
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