Bishop Knestout has invited all to a Mass of Atonement to pray for victims of sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic clergy.
He said, "I am profoundly aware of the hurt and anger the Catholic faithful and the community at large are
feeling in light of the recent report of abuse by Church leadership and now with the release of the
Pennsylvania Grand Jury report on abuse in the Church. Those revelations further erode trust in
Church leaders and in the Church as a whole. I am praying for all who have been abused.
Our Church — especially its bishops — must continually seek forgiveness for our failures from
those who have suffered as a result of those failures.
To open ourselves to the grace we need to overcome this scourge upon our Church, we must
prayerfully seek healing and reconciliation with all who have been hurt. As a step in this process,
let us pray for all victims of abuse, express sorrow for the failure of Church leaders, seek
forgiveness for our sins, and ask for the guidance of the Holy Spirit in the ongoing healing of the
People of God.
During the seven months I have been bishop, I have asked for a review of the process and
procedures currently in place for reporting and responding to all abuse. I am encouraged by the
work of our Diocesan Review Board, a committee of lay and clergy members who have assisted
our diocese for the last 16 years, in assessing accusations of child abuse and the suitability for
ministry of the accused.
I am firmly committed, as Bishop of the Richmond Diocese, to addressing accusations of abuse
quickly and transparently. Be assured, we will continue to make protection of the most vulnerable
a priority in our parishes, schools and throughout our diocese."
Mass will be held at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Richmond on Friday, September 14 at 7 PM.