Today, Pope Francis outlined concrete procedures that the worldwide, universal Catholic Church must now abide by in the response to the societal evil of sexual abuse. The Holy Father’s motu proprio makes it clear that abuse at any level in the Church, and the failure of Church leadership to report abuse and protect victims, will not be tolerated. I welcome the Holy Father’s decisive action and the definitive procedures he has mandated. I encourage our laity, and anyone who doubts that the Catholic Church is serious about confronting this issue, to read the document issued by Pope Francis and to read Catholic news coverage of this announcement. Since 2002, the Diocese of Knoxville has had in place policies and procedures to combat sexual abuse. We know that they have been successful, and we welcome the opportunity to join the universal Church in Pope Francis’ call to strengthen these efforts.
Most Reverend Richard F. Stika
Bishop of Knoxville