Pope Francis and the presidents of Episcopal Conferences from around the world met Feb. 21-24 at the Vatican to discuss the prevention of abuse of minors and vulnerable adults. An announcement about the meeting was made in September by the Holy See Press Office. Called by Pope Francis, the meeting is entitled “The Protection of Minors in the Church.”

Read a statement from USCCB President Cardinal DiNardo issued at the close of the four-day meeting. (Feb. 24, 2019)

In November, during their annual fall assembly, the U.S. bishops were prepared to take decisive steps regarding the clergy sexual abuse scandal and toward holding bishops more accountable. Their efforts were put on hold following the announcement by USCCB President Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of a Vatican communication requesting that the bishops wait to take action until after this month’s global meeting.

In the lead-up to the February meeting, the four members of the Organizing Committee, on behalf of Pope Francis, urged attendees “to reach out and visit with victims of clergy sex abuse in your respective countries prior to the meeting in Rome, to learn first-hand the suffering that they have endured.” The committee is composed of Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna, and Fr. Hans Zollner SJ. At the invitation of Pope Francis, the U.S. bishops also took part in a week-long spiritual retreat in January at Mundelein Seminary in the Archdiocese of Chicago.

In a continuing effort to be as transparent as possible, Bishop Walkowiak has created a video message for the faithful of the Diocese of Grand Rapids ahead of the worldwide bishops’ meeting at the Vatican.


Vatican meeting website – The Protection of Minors in the Church
Prayer for healing for victims of abuse
Safe environment training in the diocese
Diocesan compliance and audits
National and local resources