Baltimore archbishop attends bankruptcy hearing, listens to testimony from abuse victims — By: Catholic News Agency

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CNA Staff, Apr 9, 2024 / 12:30 pm (CNA).

Baltimore Archbishop William Lori on Monday attended a hearing at a U.S. bankruptcy court in which several witnesses testified on the abuse they endured at the hands of Church officials. 

The archdiocese said in a release on Monday that the archbishop “attended [the hearing] in which victim-survivors of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church offered statements as part of the proceedings associated with the archdiocese’s filing for Chapter 11 reorganization.” 

The archdiocese filed for bankruptcy in September of last year in response to a looming wave of sex-abuse-related lawsuits. Lori at the time said filing for bankruptcy ensured that “victim-survivors will be equitably compensated” and the Church would be able to “continue its mission and ministries.”

After the sealed hearing on Monday at U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Maryland, Lori said he was “deeply grateful to the victim-survivors for their courage today [and] moved by their heartrending experience.” 

“To the victim-survivors who long to hear that someone is sorry for the trauma they endured and for its life-altering consequences — I am deeply sorry,” the archbishop said. 

“I offer my sincerest apology on behalf of the archdiocese for the terrible harm caused to them by representatives of the Church. What happened to them never should have occurred. No child should ever, ever suffer such harm.”

The archbishop in his statement urged that “the focus today be on the courage and bravery of the women and men who offered their statements and to those they represent.”

The archdiocese said on Monday that meeting with abuse victims is “part of the Church’s pastoral response to those who have courageously reported their abuse.” 

“That response also includes comprehensive policies that seek to root out abuse from the life of the Church and support victim-survivors in ways that contribute to their healing,” the statement said.

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