The U.S. Department of Justice has declared next week National Crime Victims’ Rights Week with the theme of Reshaping the Future, Honoring the Past.
In their statement Responsibility, Rehabilitation, and Restoration: A Catholic Perspective on Crime and Criminal Justice, the U.S. Bishops outline seven critical roles for the Church in the justice system. One of those is our pastoral response to victims:
“Victims of crime and their families often turn to their local parishes for compassion and support,” the bishops say. “Pastors and parish ministers must be prepared to respond quickly and effectively. In the past, failure to do so has resulted in alienation from the Church by crime victims and/or members of the families of crime victims. Our pastoral presence to victims must be compassionate and constant, which includes developing victim ministry programs.”
The bishops’ statement also explains the Church’s responsibility to teach right from wrong, reach out to offenders and their families, build community, advocate for policies that offer real alternatives, organize diocesan consultations and work for new approaches.
Read the entire document here or contact Debbie McDermott, firstname.lastname@example.org, for more information.