As the Synod of Bishops on youth and young adults prepares to open, one of the American delegate bishops said that for any efforts to minister to young people today to bear fruit, the church must first reclaim credibility by addressing the clergy sexual abuse scandal head on. His Excellency Bishop Frank Caggiano of Bridgeport, Connecticut said that he hopes the synod will produce “not just words but some significant initiatives in that regard.”

As reported by Catholic Herald, His Excellency Bishop Frank Caggiano said such a move is “essential,” a word he repeated several times, for the Catholic Church to be seen as credible in its outreach to young people. He described the present abuse scandal now in a second phase “all about authenticity. It’s about leadership being accountable. It’s about transparency. I think the greatest scandal is when, you know, things are not accounted for, or hidden or not transparent. That shakes people’s faith.” Further, His Grace added, “For young people, I think this is a moment for the church to recapture their imagination by using this as a moment of truth, humility and repentance and purification, and do what we have to do to hold people accountable. And those who remain, please God, to rededicate ourselves to lives of true personal holiness. That speaks powerfully.”

A first-time delegate, Caggiano will be one of six U.S. bishops participating in the Synod of Bishops on young people, faith and vocational discernment, which will run Oct. 3-28. The synod, which is led by His Holiness Pope Francis, will bring together 300-plus bishops and non-voting observers and participants from around the world to examine how the church can develop new ways to join young people in their faith journeys, or as the pre-synod working document puts it, “to accompany all young people, without exception, towards the joy of love.”