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dragged my kids to 8 a.m. Mass this morning for the Feast of the
Assumption. It was one of those days where the “obligation” part of the
Holy Day felt particularly heavy. There is a small parish within a short
walking distance of our home, but we are still adjusting to the
logistics of leaving the house with two kids, so my husband, our
3-month-old, our 2-year-old and I managed to roll our stroller quietly
to the back pew of the church around the time the first reading started.
I pointed out the pictures in the stained glass of Jesus and Mary and
Joseph to my son who snacked on Cheerios while my husband juggled my
daughter on his shoulder, slowly becoming drenched in drool.
More than 1000 children abused by priests in Pennsylvania
The Pennsylvania statehouse is seen from the State Street bridge in Harrisburg
Photo: CNS/Tim Shaffer, Reuters
The shocking revelations in the 884-page report places the issue of clergy sex abuse firmly back on the national stage
More than 1000 children were sexually
abused by hundreds of paedophile priests in Pennsylvania for decades,
according to a report released today by Attorney General Josh Shapiro.
The results of a two-year investigation that show that there were301 credible cases of clergy sex abuse of minors in six dioceses over more than 70 years.Coming
in the wake of a series of revelations about former Cardinal Theodore
McCarrick, the 884-page report places the issue of clergy sex abuse back
on the national stage in a way it has not been since the 2002 crisis
that began in Boston, and spread nationwide.
Flanked by victims, Shapiro began his
press conference with videotaped comments from survivors who discussed
both their abuse and the negative consequences it had on their
psycho-sexual and emotional development. He then detailed both the
instances of abuse and the cover-up of that abuse by Church leaders. He
also complained about those petitioners who challenged some of the
factual conclusions his office made and whose objections delayed the
publication of the report. Some redactions remain in the final report
because the Pennsylvania Supreme Court is still reviewing the appeals by
those named in the report.
The New York Times
August 14, 2018
By Laurie Goodstein
Bishops and other leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in
Pennsylvania covered up child sexual abuse by hundreds of priests over a
period of 70 years, persuading victims not to report the abuse and
police officers not to investigate it, according to a report issued by a grand jury on Tuesday.
The report, which says there were more than 1,000 identifiable
victims and covered six of the state’s eight Catholic dioceses, is the
broadest examination yet by a government agency in the United States of
child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. There have been ten previous reports by grand juries and attorneys general
in the United States, according to the research and advocacy group
BishopAccountability.org, but those examined single dioceses or
The report catalogs horrific instances of abuse, including a priest
who raped a young girl in the hospital after she had her tonsils out,
and another priest who was allowed to stay in ministry after
impregnating a 17-year-old girl, forging a signature on a marriage
certificate and then divorcing the girl.
“Despite some institutional reform, individual leaders of the church
have largely escaped public accountability,” the grand jury wrote.
“Priests were raping little boys and girls, and the men of God who were
responsible for them not only did nothing; they hid it all. For
Then-Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick attends a Mass in Rome April 11, 2018. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
the weeks since reports of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s sexual abuse
of seminarians and minors began to appear, there has been a chorus of
cries for an investigation—not just into how the incidents of abuse took
place, but also into how McCarrick advanced in the hierarchy despite
them. The investigation must find the culprits who, knowing McCarrick’s
misdeeds, were responsible for his ecclesiastical advancement.
USCCB president Archbishop Daniel DiNardo raised the prospect
of an investigation in a statement immediately after the scandal broke,
saying “We are determined to find the truth of this matter.” Cardinal
Donald Wuerl of Washington DC recommended a church probe staffed by bishops. Bishop Edward Scharfenberger of Albany called for
“an independent commission led by well-respected, faithful lay
leaders.” Bishop Robert Barron of Los Angeles took up the cry at his Word on Fire blog, saying
that we must learn “what the responsible parties know, and when did
they know it” even as he put the ultimate blame on the devil. A group of
young conservative Catholic academics and writers, in an open letter published at First Things, angrily insisted on an investigation as well.