A statement from Bishop Richard F. Stika on Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick, who recently resigned from the College of Cardinals following sexual abuse allegations:
Like many of you, I have struggled in recent weeks with my personal reaction to reports that Archbishop Theodore McCarrick sexually abused individuals during his years as a priest and bishop. I also recognize the anger and doubt Catholics around the world feel due to the nature of this case.
I want to offer my personal apology for what has happened. While reports and admissions of decades-old sins and crimes have shaken us in recent years, I am confident in the process the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has in place with the Dallas Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.
Through this process, an allegation of abuse against Archbishop McCarrick was turned over to law enforcement, independently investigated, and then further reviewed and found to be credible by the Archdiocese of New York. In addition to his recent resignation as a cardinal, Archbishop McCarrick was suspended from public ministry and faces a canonical trial in Rome.
I believe the charter works, but I also believe it is time for further review and action to strengthen it.
I support Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the president of the USCCB, and his call to convene the executive committee to begin this process of addressing sexual abuse and abuse of power by bishops and major superiors. This will be a priority at the convening of the USCCB General Assembly in November, which I will attend.
Let us continue to pray for each other and especially for those who are victims of sexual abuse and abuse of power.
Bishop Richard F. Stika
Diocese of Knoxville