HARTFORD, Conn. — The leader of the world’s largest Roman Catholic fraternal group is condemning clergy sex abuse and calling for reforms in the church, including a renewed commitment to celibacy by priests.

Carl Anderson, supreme knight of the New Haven, Connecticut-based Knights of Columbus, made the comments in what appeared to be an unusual letter to the group’s nearly 2 million members on Tuesday.

“These sins of commission and omission have sent the Church we love, the Church we serve and the Church that Jesus Christ established into convulsions,” Anderson wrote. “Sadly, the disgrace not only is borne by the perpetrators, it hurts us all, as does the silence of shepherds who have ignored the cries of their flocks.”

To be sure, the Knights of Columbus hasn’t been inoculated from the sex abuse scandal that’s rocked the global Catholic Church in recent years.

The organization was sued in 2010 by two men who said a former leader of the Columbian Squires – the Knights’ official youth program – abused them in Texas in the 1970s and 1980s. Knights’ spokesman Joseph Cullen said both cases were dismissed.

“Through our Office of Youth Protection, we have a model state of the art safe environment program,” Cullen said. “We partner with a nationally known expert in this field and provide background checks, hotline services and training. We train thousands of our members on safe environment each year in which we make a ‘duty to report’ a first priority, just as we did in these two cases.”

Anderson in his letter didn’t touch on those allegations and instead focused on more recent revelations, including sexual abuse allegations against retired archbishop of Washington, Theodore Mc- Carrick, and a grand jury report accusing church leaders of covering up the abuse of more than 1,000 children or teenagers by some 300 Catholic priests in Pennsylvania since the 1940s. He said the Knights of Columbus must “commit to work for repentance, reform and rebuilding of the Church,” including a full accounting of the abuse by the perpetrators.

“Archbishop McCarrick and others at fault owe us a full account of their actions, motivations and cover-ups,” Anderson wrote. “After years of having us confess to them, it is now time for them to come clean about what they have done and what they have failed to do.”