Catholic League president William Donohue issued the following comments today on the opening address of the U.S. bishops’ conference in Dallas by Bishop Wilton Gregory:

“The message has been received.  Never has there been a statement from any bishop that spoke so clearly and unconditionally about the problem of priestly sexual abuse.  Bishop Gregory offered what amounted to a collective act of contrition on the part of the bishops.  He reached out to victims and their families in a way no one else has.  He spoke candidly about the failure of responsibility on the part of the bishops.  He apologized to priests, religious, deacons and the laity for what has been allowed to happen.  By putting the blame squarely on the shoulders of the bishops, Bishop Gregory gave lay Catholics what they were looking for—real leadership.

“This speech was not pure rhetoric.  It set the tone for the entire meeting.  And the tone that has been set is one of utmost seriousness.  Indeed, Bishop Gregory was so magnificent in addressing every aspect of this problem that it is difficult to believe that the final result will not be just as meritorious.  In short, his speech was a home run.  Now the ball is in the court of his fellow bishops to finish the job.”

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