Bishop Burbidge welcomes new universal norms issued by Pope Francis


With gratitude, I welcome Pope Francis’ Motu Proprio, Vos estis lux mundi (“You are the light of the world”), which demonstrates the pastoral concern of the entire Catholic Church for victims of sexual abuse and their families. While many of the Holy Father’s mandates are already being implemented in dioceses throughout the United States, the new norms also rightly address the accountability of bishops. The directives serve as a clear reminder that no person in a position of authority within the Catholic Church is exempt from accountability. In fact, those in authority have a special and critical responsibility to account for their own behavior and to ensure that allegations of sexual abuse are investigated thoroughly.

Although there have been positive steps forward in recent years, Pope Francis reminds us that, “Even if so much has already been accomplished, we must continue to learn from the bitter lessons of the past, looking with hope towards the future.”

The new norms reflect the Church’s continued effort to respond to the needs of victims. Nothing can fully heal their wounds caused by abusive clergy and the failure of leaders to respond appropriately. Seeking the grace and strength of Our Lord, I pledge to continue to work vigorously to protect children and other vulnerable persons in the Church.

Through the intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church, I pray that these norms will help us to protect God’s children, uphold justice for the faithful, and assist victims in their continued healing.


To read the full Motu Proprio, go to:

For a Q/A resource about the new norms, go to: