Rocco Palma walks us through the sorry story emerging out of Phillie after a devastating grand jury report and the implications of today's announcement from Cardinal Rigali at Whispers in the Loggia:
Over the six days since a second Philadelphia grand jury released a damning report that charged four priests and alleged ongoing mismanagement of clergy sex-abuse cases by the city’s scandal-rocked archdiocese, the fallout has been viewed as a “nightmare,” a “meltdown” and “a shambles” just within the church’s ranks.
Now, though, a concerted clean-up effort has begun... and the crisis’ next stage could well end up becoming something more still.
Under the glare of a fury toward the church unparalleled in this heavily-Catholic region's living memory, Cardinal Justin Rigali has set the stage for an occurrence without precedent over the decade since revelations of abuse and cover-up began erupting in earnest on these shores. Earlier today, the Philadelphia prelate ordered an "immediate re-examination" of accusations against "as many as 37" priests who, according to the grand jury, have remained in public ministry into the present despite reports which its investigation deemed “substantial” after the archdiocese ruled them unsubstantiated.
If even a fraction of the allegations to be reinspected are either admitted by the accused or newly judged to be “established” -- the archdiocese’s consistent standard, in line with the Stateside church’s particular law in force since 2002 -- the resulting mass suspension would mark, by far, the largest single banishment of priests on abuse allegations in the long trail of the most seismic scandal ever to shake the American church.