Letter to Members of the U.S. Catholic Hierarchy

To: Members of the U.S. Catholic Hierarchy

From: The Office of Justice for Priests and Deacons

January 30, 2003

Enclosed you will find a canonical commentary on the Essential Norms for Diocesan/Eparchial Policies Dealing with Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Minors By Priests and Deacons.

The commentary was prepared by a group of international canonists from the Oriental and Latin Churches. These canonists have received their degrees from different Pontifical Faculties of Canon Law in the United States, Canada, and Rome. They are well informed on both the administrative and penal processes in these matters.

The commentary is concerned about the promotion of justice, the protection of the individual’s rights (both accuser and accused) and the procedures for a canonical trial. We trust that you will find the commentary on canonical procedure and the protection of the rights of all parties to be a valuable source document in the implementation of justice in your individual dioceses. Many hours of experience have been put into its preparation and we hope it will be of assistance to you as you provide justice in these serious matters.

If you have any questions on the commentary, please feel free to contact us and we will be happy to help.

You may wish to visit our web site: www.justiceforpriestsanddeacons.org

Wishing you God’s blessing on your ministry and assuring you a remembrance in our prayers.

Peace and Joy

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