I think we were all shocked and saddened when we learned this past week when Cardinal Theodore McCarrick issued a public statement that a decades-old but credible and substantiated claim of abuse of a minor had been made against him in the Archdiocese of New York when he served there as a priest.

While the Archdiocese of New York investigated this claim, at the same time, I requested that a similar review be made of all Archdiocese of Washington’s records. Based on that review, I can report that no claim – credible or otherwise – has been made against Cardinal McCarrick during his time here in Washington.

We must now wait for a final determination of this case to be made in Rome. In matters such as this our first priority as a Church is to continue to offer spiritual and pastoral support for the survivors of abuse and their families, and to provide assistance to help them heal and find peace. The abuse of children is a terrible tragedy, and the Church, even as we offer profound apologies, can never express enough our deep sorrow and contrition.

At the same time, it is also important that we encourage survivors of abuse to come forward. The Archdiocese of Washington and its Office of Child and Youth Protection offer resources and confidential support to any who have suffered from abuse and who seek our help. We work diligently to ensure that our parishes, schools and youth programs remain safe and secure for the young people that are entrusted to our care.

I encourage all of the members of our Archdiocesan Church to join me in prayer for everyone involved in this matter, including the survivor who stepped forward, for all those who have been victimized by abuse, and for our Church, that everyone may experience the healing power of God’s grace.