We Pledge . .

These two words have been spoken many times over the past several weeks. Yet they are not just words, but a promise. They are a promise to the people of the Diocese of Harrisburg that the church described in the Grand Jury Report is not the church of today and it will never be the church of tomorrow.

I assure each of you that the Diocese of Harrisburg has learned from its past mistakes. Today, our schools, parishes and youth organizations are some of the safest places for children and young people to gather. But I won’t ask you to just accept my word; rather, accept the facts collected over a period of decades. The Grand Jury Report paints a painful, sinful, corrupt picture of the church. We are no longer that church.

While these dark clouds have descended upon us, there will be brighter days ahead. Our efforts to protect children will never cease and our actions will speak far louder than our words.

I make each one of you this promise, this pledge: the Harrisburg Diocese will implement faithfully our revised Youth Protection Policy and will continue to do everything we can to ensure the safety and well-being of our children.

Pray with me that God will grant us all the grace to meet these challenges with a spirit of humility and courage.

Yours in Christ,

Most Rev. Ronald W. Gainer
Bishop of the Diocese of Harrisburg

We Pledge . .

To Support

the survivors of child abuse by the hands of Church clergy, employees or volunteers.
  • The Diocese’s top priority is assisting survivors and their families in their journey toward healing. We help survivors obtain outpatient counseling from mutually agreed upon, licensed, quality providers, regardless of when the abuse occurred.
  • To report abuse by a clergy member of Diocese employee, please call the toll-free PA ChildLine at 1-800-932-0313 and call the Diocesan toll-free hotline at 1-800-626-1608.
We Pledge . .

To Uphold

a zero-tolerance policy for child abuse by Church clergy, employees and volunteers.
  • The Diocese of Harrisburg has maintained a zero tolerance policy for child sex abuse for more than 15 years. Anyone with a proven allegation of child sexual abuse is permanently removed from ministry or employment.
  • Every clergy member, Diocesan employee, volunteer and vendors completes multiple background checks before they may begin employment.
  • All clergy, staff and volunteers must complete a child abuse mandated reporter training program. In the past 13 years, the Diocese has trained more than 31,000 adults, through more than 50,000 hours of training.
We Pledge . .

To Teach

our children ways they can protect themselves.
  • The Diocese has provided a Safe Environment program to students in our Catholic schools and parish religious education programs since 2005. Age appropriate lessons present key safety topics on internet and social media use, good touch and bad touch, using the buddy system, and refraining from using drugs and alcohol.
  • This program has been taught to more than 60,000 students during the past 13 years.
We Pledge . .

To Make Amends

to the Catholic faithful
  • The Diocese has fully admitted to its past failure to protect our youth and the failure to be open with our parishioners. We recognize that words mean little at this time, so we will allow our actions to demonstrate our pledge.
  • The Diocese has committed to greater transparency and communication, a pledge we will work tirelessly to uphold.
We Pledge . .

To Support

our faithful clergy
  • No clergy member is still in active ministry who is listed in either the Grand Jury Report’s list of accused clergy or the Diocese’s own list of accused clergy. Most of the names on both lists are deceased.
  • The Diocese of Harrisburg has many good, holy, faithful priests. We as a Diocese will continue to support their work and we ask you, the faithful, to also support your parish priests as they continue to spread the Good News.
We Pledge . .

To Demonstrate

the Church of today to the public
  • No amount of words can express our deep sorrow to the public for the sins of those in our ranks. We have broken the trust held by our brothers and sisters of other faiths.
  • We pray our actions will demonstrate our commitment to survivors, our commitment to the protection our children and our commitment to transparency.

Want to know more?

See the response throughout the Diocese

Read about the tour of listening sessions that Bishop Ronald Gainer held in the Diocese on the topic of Clergy Sexual Abuse. During these sessions, Bishop Gainer has listened to the faithful, survivors and non-Catholics on the impact of the report.