attention to the extraordinary responsibility we have to protect children
entrusted to our care.
We know this past year has been particularly difficult for many
families, and, sadly, with the increase in pressures and heightened anxiety
many are experiencing, children have been subjected to unprecedented levels of
abuse and neglect. It is also well-known that in the past, Church officials
have failed in their duty to protect children from abuse committed by priests.
This abhorrent reality has inspired the Church to make drastic changes in the
way it operates to ensure young people are guarded appropriately. Likewise, all
people of good will must work together to ensure each and every child is valued
The Diocese of Arlington continues to work diligently to protect
children from abuse in any form and in all circumstances and maintains a
zero-tolerance policy for anyone credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor.
We remain fully committed to training our clergy, staff and volunteers to
identify and report any suspected instances of abuse. Our Office of Child
Protection and Victim Assistance works with parish staff to ensure training and
prevention are followed throughout our parishes and schools.
I am filled with gratitude for the exceptional staff and
volunteers in our diocese, parishes and schools for their dedication and
commitment to protect children from any instances of abuse.
During this month, we must recognize that the devastating impact
of child abuse is lifelong, and therefore we should connect with victims and
learn more about what they need to find healing and peace. This process begins
by listening compassionately to their stories. We must walk with them and be
willing to accompany them on their journey of healing. And it must be done on
their time. Committed and united, we can reduce child abuse and help victims
find healing in Christ.
We ask that Our Lord protect each child entrusted to our care,
that he bring peace to families experiencing hardship, and that he grant us a
renewed sense of awe for the wonderful gift of each child.
The Diocese encourages anyone aware of misconduct or abuse by any
person affiliated with the Diocese to report it to local law enforcement and
contact the Diocesan Victim Assistance Coordinator at 703/841-2530.