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Diocese of Grand Rapids Bishop responds to grand jury report citing sexual abuse by Catholic clergy

Coat of arms of David Walkowiak

In response to this week’s grand jury report released by Pennsylvania officials identifying more than 300 "predator priests" who molested children in six dioceses, the Diocese of Grand Rapids’ Bishop issued a letter addressing abuse by members of the Catholic clergy.

Diocese of Grand Rapids Bishop, Most Reverend David J. Walkowiak, penned a letter that begins with prayers for “the survivors of sexual abuse.”

“Personally, I am deeply sorry for these instances which have caused many Catholics to lose faith. Clergy, men who were supposed to lead men and women to Christ, abused their power, committed sin, and inflicted deep spiritual, mental, and emotional wounds. These are wounds which can only be healed by Christ the Divine Physician.”

Bishop Walkowiak is encouraging anyone who may have been sexually abused to report it. He also sites in his letter the 2002 implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

The Bishop writing, “This document lays out the requirements of every volunteer, staff member, teacher, and clergy member to participate in training which teaches how to recognize signs of abuse, ways to guard against abuse, and how to protect children from abuse. It also requires every person who has contact with children to agree to a background check, and in some cases to be fingerprinted. Every member of our clergy undergoes an extensive psychological evaluation and background checks while in formation. Let me reiterate, the diocese has a zero-tolerance policy for anyone in the Church who abuses a child.”

Bishop Walkowiak’s letter out to the community:


Patrick Center, WGVU News.

Patrick joined WGVU Public Media in December, 2008 after eight years of investigative reporting at Grand Rapids' WOOD-TV8 and three years at WYTV News Channel 33 in Youngstown, Ohio. As News and Public Affairs Director, Patrick manages our daily radio news operation and public interest television programming. An award-winning reporter, Patrick has won multiple Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter/Anchor awards and is a three-time Academy of Television Arts & Sciences EMMY Award winner with 14 nominations.