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Bishop sets Sept. 14 as day of repentance

PORTLAND, Maine — In light of the recent revelations of past sexual abuse in other dioceses and the reports regarding Archbishop McCarrick, Bishop Robert P. Deeley of Maine’s Roman Catholic Diocese announces he will observe a day of prayer and repentance on Friday, Sept. 14.

The day will include Mass at 12:15 p.m. at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland, and will serve as an opportunity for reparation for the sins and crimes of bishops in failing to protect young people.

“The last few weeks have brought a great deal of anger from laity, priests and religious directed at bishops who mishandled cases of sexual abuse of minors in the church. That anger is justified. I can think of nothing worse than this incomprehensible abuse and any attempt to cover it up,” said Deeley.

“As your bishop, I am doing penance for the failure of some bishops to act appropriately to protect young people and who have failed in reflecting the holiness and integrity demanded by the Gospel.”

The Mass will also reaffirm the Diocese of Portland’s continuing pledge to provide a safe environment for children.

Since the implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People in 2002, more than 15,000 Catholic Church employees, volunteers, priests and educators in Maine who work with children have been trained in a safe environment program, which includes mandatory background checks. In addition, in accord with state law, the diocese reports all allegations regarding the sexual abuse of a minor by clergy to civil authorities.

“While this vigilance has led to a safer church in Maine,” said the bishop, “the abuse of power and sexual abuse of minors in other dioceses continue to wound the universal Church, even with most dioceses firmly committed to helping victims/survivors heal and installing programs to prevent further abuse.”

Deeley encourages anyone with information about any case of sexual abuse of a minor by a church representative to contact civil authorities and Michael Magalski, Director of the Office of Professional Responsibility for the Diocese of Portland, at (207) 321-7836 or atmichael.magalski@portlanddiocese.org.

“In the Diocese of Portland, we want you to feel free to come forward and speak to civil authorities and to us about these painful experiences. We strive to receive you in a manner that protects your dignity,” said the bishop. “We want to do whatever we can to help assist you in a process which leads to healing.”

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