Tyler Bishop addresses sexual abuse in Catholic Church

Tyler Bishop addresses sexual abuse in Catholic Church
Updated: Aug. 20, 2018 at 6:15 PM CDT
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(Source: KLTV)
(Source: KLTV)
(Source: KLTV)
(Source: KLTV)

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - An East Texas Bishop is speaking out about new reports of sex abuse and the cover-up within the Catholic church.

This comes after the Pope released a letter today expressing shame over a report that documented the abuse of children by more than 300 priests in Pennsylvania.

Tyler Bishop Joseph Strickland told KLTV he's now working to make sure similar incidents don't happen here in East Texas.

"I think this illustrates, we need the truth," said Bishop Strickland. "And that's what the diocese of Tyler is committed to."

Strickland is responsible for Catholics in 33 East Texas counties. According to their website, the territory is divided into 51 parishes, 18 missions, and three pastoral centers. Strickland said at masses this weekend he worked to reassure his congregation.

"I said to them this weekend, "they are a Holy flock. This is not their fault.' Sadly the leaders have fallen down on the job and I take responsibility for that here in this Diocese."

Strickland says just months ago, God prompted him to establish a new procedure. He says the church has since established a new Promoter of Justice and also brought in an outside company that works to maintain the Church as a safe place.

"Just in the midst of this, we had to call authorities on even the inkling of child abuse. Really no accusation, but just circumstances that made us concerned. I said, let's call the police just in case.'"

Strickland hopes that other Bishops will do the same. He said moving forward he's focused on praying for the victims and stopping this kind of evil from harming anyone else, especially those in his own flock.

"We've got to keep the victims of this abuse at the forefront. It's not about Bishops and their titles. It's not about finances. It's about children of God, of whatever age, that have been harmed and abused."

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