Dallas Bishop Edwards Burns addresses Pennsylvania Catholic sex abuse scandal

The bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Dallas says the diocese is looking at ways to improve the protection of the families it serves in the wake of the church sex abuse scandal in Pennsylvania.

Victims of church sex abuse sat behind the Pennsylvania attorney general who detailed a report that says the catholic church there covered up child sex crimes by more than 300 priests dating back 70 years.

Bishop Edward Burns of Dallas also says he feels anger and pain about the report and understands it is much worse for the victims.

Burns has read some of the report. He has deep personal ties with the Catholic church in Pennsylvania having been born there and been involved in the Diocese of Pittsburgh. He addressed the fact that he knows some of the people named in this report about abusers and those who protected abusers.

“My reaction was how could some people turn a blind eye to this,” Burns said. “How is it that they could allow their own selfish pride take precedence over the value and the wellbeing and the safeguard of children.”

Burns said he knows some of those in the report. Some other people he knows by name only.

The report released on Tuesday also addressed the fact that many of the priests accused of abuse are simply moved to other parishes.

Burns also announced that he is the planning stages of taking some steps to further protect the church. He says the details will be announced at a later time, but he said several times that words alone will not fix these issues.

“We cannot coast because you know when you’re coasting you’re going downhill,” Burns said. “We have to work at this and we have to be ever diligent.”

Bishop Burns also noted that since 2008 more than 125,000 people in the Diocese of Dallas have taken safe environment training, but he also said the report is further proof more must be done to deal with the issue of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.            

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