Bishop Alfred Schlert: Encouraging Steps Toward Holding Bishops Accountable

Pope Francis, cardinals and bishops and the heads of religious orders attend a Mass on the last day of the four-day meeting on the protection of minors in the church at the Vatican Feb. 24, 2019. (CNS photo/Maria Grazia Picciarella)

As Pope Francis called for “an all-out battle against the abuse of minors,” Bishop Alfred Schlert said he was encouraged that specific proposals to hold bishops accountable were discussed when Church leaders from around the world attended the Vatican Meeting on the Protection of Minors in the Church.

“We owe it to victims never to fail them again,” said Bishop Schlert. “I am pleased that there was progress at the meeting, and I look forward to voting on final proposals on bishop accountability that are under development in the United States.

“I am in favor of any viable mechanism for oversight and accountability for Bishops,” Bishop Schlert said. “As Bishop of Allentown, I welcome independent and objective scrutiny as I work to fulfill my grave responsibility to prevent abuse and to keep children safe.”

At the meeting, Pope Francis suggested 21 ways that the world’s bishops could improve child safety, and Bishop Schlert noted that many of them already are in effect in the United States and in the Diocese of Allentown, and they have been continually refined since 2002.

“Please join me in praying that all bishops have the courage and wisdom of the Holy Spirit as they work to rid the Church of sexual abuse,” Bishop Schlert said. “May the healing power of the Holy Spirit be upon all victims and upon the entire Church.”