Pennsylvania report documents over 1,000 victims of priest abuse

This is a map of Pennsylvania showing the six Catholic dioceses covered by a grand jury report on an investigation of abuse claims made in those dioceses. The report covers a span of more than 70 years. (CNS/courtesy of USCCB)

In an emotional press conference on Tuesday, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro unveiled a more than 800-page grand jury report that chronicles seven decades of sexual abuse of children by priests in six Catholic dioceses and the “systematic cover up by senior church officials in Pennsylvania and at the Vatican.”

Mr. Shapiro said that his office’s two-year investigation identified 301 priests who abused children and more than 1,000 victims. He said members of the grand jury told him they believe the number of victims is much larger.

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He described in detail many of the acts of abuse, saying church leaders had employed euphemisms in the past to cover up what was happening.

“Church officials routinely and purposely described the abuse as horseplay and wrestling and inappropriate contact. It was none of those things,” Mr. Shapiro said. “It was child sexual abuse, including rape, committed by grown men, priests, against children.”

Mr. Shapiro said that his office’s two-year investigation identified 301 priests who abused children and more than 1,000 victims.

He slammed bishops and other church leaders for thwarting inquiries, protecting priests and acting hostile toward victims.

“The cover-up was sophisticated. And all the while, shockingly, church leadership kept records of the abuse and the cover-up. These documents, from the dioceses’ own ‘Secret Archives,’ formed the backbone of this investigation,” Mr. Shapiro said at the news conference in Harrisburg.

[Explore America's in-depth coverage of Sexual Abuse and the Catholic Church.]

“Above all else, they protected their institution, at all cost,” Mr. Shapiro said.

Mr. Shapiro lamented that some church leaders cited in the report for mishandling abuse claims have been promoted, including Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the archbishop of Washington who headed the Diocese of Pittsburgh from 1988 to 2006.

“Bishop Wuerl,” he said, “is now Cardinal Wuerl.”

The cardinal released a statement on Tuesday, in which he called the sexual abuse of children “a terrible tragedy” and defended his own record in Pittsburgh.

“As I have made clear throughout my more than 30 years as a bishop, the sexual abuse of children by some members of the Catholic Church is a terrible tragedy, and the Church can never express enough our deep sorrow and contrition for the abuse, and for the failure to respond promptly and completely,” Cardinal Wuerl said.

“While I understand this Report may be critical of some of my actions, I believe the Report confirms that I acted with diligence, with concern for the victims and to prevent future acts of abuse,” he continued. “I sincerely hope that a just assessment of my actions, past and present, and my continuing commitment to the protection of children will dispel any notions otherwise made by this report.”

The head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, also condemned sexual abuse and said that U.S. bishops “are shamed by and sorry for the sins and omissions by Catholic priests and Catholic bishops.”

But he said policy changes bishops made in 2002 have made the church a safe place for children and holds priests accountable for abuse.

The report acknowledges that most of the abuse cases it documents occurred “before the early 2000’s” and it says it invited bishops to explain how their dioceses have changed when it comes to protecting children from abuse.

“It appears that the church is now advising law enforcement of abuse reports more promptly,” the report states. “Internal review processes have been established. Victims are no longer quite so invisible.”

“But,” the report continues, “the full picture is not yet clear.”

The report also takes issue with the failure to hold bishops and other church leaders accountable for mishandling allegations of abuse, stating, “despite some institutional reform, individual leaders of the church have largely escaped public accountability.”

The head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, also condemned sexual abuse and said that U.S. bishops “are shamed by and sorry for the sins and omissions by Catholic priests and Catholic bishops.”

“Priests were raping little boys and girls, and the men of God who were responsible for them not only did nothing,” the report says, “they hid it all.”

“We pledge to maintain transparency and to provide for the permanent removal of offenders from ministry and to maintain safe environments for everyone,” Cardinal DiNardo said in a statement co-signed with Bishop Timothy L. Doherty of Lafayette, Ind., chairman of the Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People. “All policies and procedures regarding training and background check requirements are made publicly available by dioceses.”

The grand jury recommended four changes to help victims of abuse, including cases of abuse that took place too long ago for prosecution or civil lawsuits. The report recommends eliminating the criminal statute of limitations for sexually abusing children, creating a two-year window for victims of sexual abuse to file lawsuits, clarifying penalties for failing to report abuse and banning non-disclosure agreements regarding cooperation with law enforcement.

Addressing his words to the state’s bishops, Mr. Shapiro said: “Statements are one thing. The proof of their claims will be if they support each of the grand jury’s four recommendations.”

“Stand up today, right now, and announce your support for these commonsense reforms,” he continued. “That is the real test that will determine whether or not things have really changed or if it will just be business as usual.”

While the attorney general was critical of Catholic bishops, he praised Bishop Lawrence Persico of the Diocese of Erie, saying he was the only Pennsylvania bishop who testified in front of the grand jury in person rather than submitting a written statement.

The Pennsylvania report echoes the findings of many earlier church investigations around the country—and in other Pennsylvania dioceses—in its description of widespread sexual abuse by clergy and church officials’ concealment of it.

What distinguished this probe was its extraordinary scope: The grand jury scrutinized abuse allegations in six of Pennsylvania’s eight dioceses that, collectively, minister to more than half the state’s 3.2 million Catholics.

The report details allegations in six dioceses going back 70 years.

“Predators in every diocese weaponized the Catholic faith and used it as a tool of their abuse,” Mr. Shapiro said.

He also said that the church’s failure to protect children was exacerbated by law enforcement and a criminal justice system that sometimes looked the other way after claims were made.

The grand jury’s work might not result in justice for Catholics who say they were molested as children. While the nearly two-year probe has yielded charges against two clergymen—including a priest who has since pleaded guilty, and another who allegedly forced his accuser to say confession after each sex assault—the vast majority of priests already identified as perpetrators are either dead or are likely to avoid arrest because their alleged crimes are too old to prosecute under state law.

The Pennsylvania grand jury, convened by the state attorney general’s office in 2016, heard from dozens of witnesses and reviewed more than a half-million pages of internal documents from the Allentown, Erie, Greensburg, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and Scranton dioceses.

Some current and former clergy named in the report went to court to prevent its release, arguing it violated their constitutional rights to reputation and due process of law. The state Supreme Court said the public had a right to see it but ruled the names of priests and others who objected to the findings would be blacked out pending a September hearing on their claims.

The identities of those clergy members remain under court seal.

A couple dioceses decided to strip the accused of their anonymity ahead of the report and released the names of clergy members who were accused of sexual misconduct. On Friday, the bishop of Pittsburgh’s diocese said a few priests named in the report are still in ministry because the diocese determined allegations against them were unsubstantiated.

Mr. Shapiro spoke to a group that included some survivors of clergy sexual abuse.

“Unlike the Catholic Church, and some in law enforcement, we hear you, and we believe your truth,” he said.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report. This story has been updated.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
Monica DeAngelis
3 months 4 weeks ago

Pope Francis asked the bishops of Chile to submit their resignations based on less information than is available in this report. Shouldn't the bishops of Pennsylvania offer their resignations?
Until bishops are held accountable, priests are going to keep getting away with all manner of perversion.

Jessica Pegis
3 months 4 weeks ago

Monica, so nice to see you. (I'm Sarasi.)

Monica DeAngelis
3 months 4 weeks ago

Hi, Sarasi! I've missed you and so many others. Please let me know how you're doing when you have a chance. monicadeangelis@aol.com (I read Canadian....:)

Jessica Pegis
3 months 4 weeks ago

I will. ;-)

Mark Silverbird
3 months 4 weeks ago

In my estimation of what I have seen and encountered in complicity of our Catholic church personally, most of the USA Bishops and Cardinals, and many of the priests should resign!

Tim O'Leary
3 months 3 weeks ago

Monica - The Chilean abuse was much more recent and involved a bishop doing the sexual abuse, so that was more like the McCarrick case. I went through the very long report. The PA grand Jury report says the abuse was practically all before the 2002 John Jay report and after the new reforms. While the individual stories in PA are horrendous, the report lacks statistical tables, and several of the abuses have been public for years. It goes back over 70 years, so the justice system will be very unsatisfying. An investigation is needed for all dioceses since 2002, and further back for adult sexual activity, but I would hope a more systematic approach is undertaken, with statistics and tables and population estimates, etc. Any bishop or cardinal who knew of active abusers since 2002 and didn't report it should resign. Anyone who recommended a promotion or otherwise protected such a person should resign. The whole Church needs a deep cleansing. We need holy strong men in our clergy, not clerics who are too quick to forgive and forget. A year of justice is in order. While few want to hear it, the scandal in Penn State and Michigan state, and the rising tolerance for pornography and deviance in Hollywood need to undergo the same investigation.

Carolyn Disco
3 months 3 weeks ago

Monica, a delight to see your name again, no matter where.
Let me suggest that Pope Francis should show some real spine and not wait for any bishops to submit their resignations. Instead, an order needs to go out promptly to all abuse enablers who failed to act to protect victims: "You are removed from office immediately on receipt of this notice of your termination." There is proof aplenty from all the grand jury, attorney general, government investigations worldwide.
All these lawyerly statements from prelates about how horrible and shamed they feel, how we need to hold bishops accountable, come together in faith --- this bleached language has been issuing from chanceries over 16 years with no action taken. The Vatican could not even come with a policy or anything; the idea died on the vine, a non-starter.
Their self-protection racket must end now. Nothing would get their attention more than criminal convictions, and some orange jump suits for a number of years. Sorry, prayer and penance don’t cut it. But, of course cardinals and bishops have been stunningly successful in preventing statutes of limitation reform just about everywhere. They got away with everything. Maybe now PA legislators will finally act and create a window for past victims to seek justice.
I can see McCarrick’s case dragging on and on and him dying before any judgment is rendered. Maciel’s victims never even had the satisfaction of having their cases officially decided. They did not hear guilty as charged on their specific allegations. What a sham.

Michael Barberi
3 months 4 weeks ago

It is sickening to see the extent of sexual abuse by clergy in PA and the coverup by Bishops and Cardinals. Even one Bishop (Wuerl) got promoted to Cardinal. I want to make clear that Cardinal Wuerl deserves to be considered innocent until evidence is presented otherwise. Nevertheless, it seems that every 6 months there is more news of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. I don't believe that the so-called reforms in 2002 has arrested the root cause of these sexual crimes. The Institutional Church continues to be largely a secret society that has not sufficiently eliminated its propensity to protect its priests and bishops from crimes of sexual abuse though actions such as coverup and other means. There is not adequate transparency, honesty or the courage to implement effective reforms with appropriate consequences for failure.

Let's see how Pope Francis will handle this recent revelation. As Monica said, will Pope Francis ask for the resignations of the bishops of PA as he did in Chile?

Monica DeAngelis
3 months 4 weeks ago

Hi, Michael - It's depressing. On my blog (aggiornamento.org) I briefly debate a friend on the question whether it's time for Francis himself to resign. I think it's instructive that neither of us could come up with really good reasons for him to stay. - Monica

Lisa Weber
3 months 4 weeks ago

And who would you replace him with? It is very easy to be an armchair quarterback with easy answers that will never become reality.

Monica DeAngelis
3 months 4 weeks ago

I would like to see Cardinal Scherer of Sao Paulo, Brazil, the largest Catholic nation in the world. He's only 68, a moderate and is listed as papabile by most Vatican observers. (There are actually handicappers for future popes .) As we both know, there is a recent precedent for popes retiring when they reach a certain age and condition.

Mark Silverbird
3 months 4 weeks ago

Even the current "so called" Pope Emeritus is far better than this guy. I do not say that Benedict would not have resulted in having to deal with this mess, but I do believe that he would have handled it extraordinarily better.

Suzanne Smith
3 months 4 weeks ago

Really? I always supposed that one of the reasons he stepped down was to make way for a reformer since he felt he was too old and he lacked the credibility - by that I mean JP II did not believe the sex abuse crisis was real; he believed it was people out to damage the Church. Many, many people wrote him about Fr. Maciel, the founder of the Legionaires of Christ and a depraved sexual predator but Pope JP II didn't believe it and in fact, was a great admirer of Fr. Maciel. Ratzinger was part of all of this. But he knew better I think. As soon as he became Pope Benedict he retired Fr. Maciel and got him out. Besides let's go with history: The reformers of the Church are usually the saints not the popes, bishops or even theologians. And they usually begin the reform outside the structure of the Church. No, the guilty cannot reform themselves.

Jeffrey More
3 months 4 weeks ago

The last thing the Church - and the world - needs is another pope from the Third World. At a time when Europe and the concepts and values it has given rise to are under assault, it is a tragedy of historic proportions that a man such as Bergoglio sits on the throne of St. Peter. Bergoglio is a disaster precisely because he is a left-leaning Peronist from the Third World with no respect for Western civilization. As for the "recent precedent for popes retiring", I respectfully submit that it is a disgrace and a scandal for such a thing to occur. The idea that the Vicar of Christ can step aside like some corporate officer or director and let another take his place in my opinion makes a mockery of the institution of the papacy. Finally, the bishops and cardinals of the United States should, to a man, resign immediately, without waiting for a request from either of our two popes. God help us - the whited sepulchres who run Catholic Church Inc. in this country certainly won't.

LuAnn O'Connell
3 months 4 weeks ago

I don't see Western Civilization being touted anywhere in my Bible and fail to understand that is has anything to do with Jesus who was born in a Middle Eastern culture and promoted the poor over the rich, very much a "left-leaning" stand!

Jeffrey More
3 months 3 weeks ago

I don't see Western Civilization being touted in my Bible either, but for some reason Christianity in general and the Catholic Church in particular spent a millennium and a half (more or less) creating, nurturing and promoting it. I wonder why? I would also observe that if in 1683 Jan Sobieski had shared your apparent point of view, all Europe would be speaking Ottoman Turkish today, and the Pope at the time would not have had the opportunity to hail Sobieski as the savior of Vienna and of Western Civilization.

Suzanne Smith
3 months 4 weeks ago

Why would Pope Francis resign over this? He is the only one who has the credibility in the Church and in the world to take this on. He took the name of a Church reformer and has worked tirelessly to emphasize humility, love and compassion. I hope he is strong enough. If anyone can return the Church's credibility in the eyes of the world it is Pope Francis. But it is not enough to simply punish the bishops and the priests -- A.W. Richard Sipe found in all the research he did that vast numbers of clergy are not celibate and that the abuse of children is a further next step in a clandestine, underground sex life -- look at McCarrick and the way he behaved toward younger priests and would-be priests! Back in the 1970s, my mother's cousin's son was raped when he was a seminarian (He left the Church over it.) No, I think a good deal more is required than ousting a few bishops.

Gary Sullivan
3 months 4 weeks ago

Sorry, but Francis canonized John Paul II, who was notorious for cover-ups involving child abuse.

Reyanna Rice
3 months 4 weeks ago

JP2’s canonization was already scheduled BEFORE Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected as pope. Can you even imagine the hue and cry that would have resulted had he canceled it? As it was, Poland was upset that Francis decided to include John XXIII’s canonization together in the same ceremony. They felted they’d been cheated out of their big day!

Reyanna Rice
3 months 4 weeks ago

JP2’s canonization was already scheduled BEFORE Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected as pope. Can you even imagine the hue and cry that would have resulted had he canceled it? As it was, Poland was upset that Francis decided to include John XXIII’s canonization together in the same ceremony. They felted they’d been cheated out of their big day!

Cam Rathborne
3 months 3 weeks ago

It is unclear to me if a Saint would be involved in the large scale cover up of sexual abuse? I think the canonization of JPII speaks to the heart of the problem. The Church does not seem to understand the gravity of the current climate. Therefore they are unwilling to make the systemic changes needed to restore the trust that has been lost.

Lisa Weber
3 months 4 weeks ago

Thank you, Suzanne. I agree that more needs to be done than oust a few bishops. I think it would be helpful for laypeople, particularly laywomen, to have a greater say in who is chosen to be a bishop.

Stefan Svilich
3 months 4 weeks ago

Jeez...when did these guys have time to say mass, hear confession, attend to the sick, etc.? Great time management skills?

Jessica Pegis
3 months 4 weeks ago

Attend to the sick? Easy. One of the predators raped a child in the hospital following a tonsillectomy.

bill carson
3 months 4 weeks ago

Yeah, and how many bishops will have their scarlet hat taken from them? Virtually none!

A Fielder
3 months 4 weeks ago

The “bad apple” argument seems like a sad remembrance of what the party line used to be. Even if only 4% of priests are abusers, the behavior of those in leadership, with these lies and obstructions of justice on such a massive scale, suggest that the church is getting ready to celebrate the paschal mystery, or at least a painful type of death.

Lisa Weber
3 months 4 weeks ago

It would be helpful to sort these accusations by time. How many of them were from the years before the church made any meaningful attempt to address the problem of priests sexually abusing children? My intent is not to excuse any of the wrongdoing, but the past cannot be changed. We need to know how the church is doing now and how it has done in the recent past. Another piece of information that would be useful to know is the rate of sexual abuse in other organizations - other churches would provide a useful comparison. We can only make reparations for the past and make our best effort to do better in the future. We do need to bring laypeople into the disciplinary processes of the church.

Tom McGlinchey
3 months 4 weeks ago

Dear God, hear the groaning of your faithful who seek to continue to believe in your Justice, soothe the tears of those injured by these actions of omission and commission, satisfy the righteous anger of those who have long trusted that the promises to protect children would find swift fulfillment, and clean the pits that hold the remaining failed clergy and hold those responsible for the delayed cleaning up, raised before the faithful in their shame so that we might once again trust in your mercy and justice. Amen

Vincent Gaglione
3 months 4 weeks ago

On the NBC evening national news, the day of the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s report on sexual abuse by Catholic clergy and the cover-ups by diocesan Bishops, it was the lead story ahead of the story about Trump calling Omarosa Manigault-Newman a “dog”. While the report was long expected, the lead story on the news says more about the debasement of the Catholic Church in the United States by its clergy than it does about the President’s debasement of his office.

When I saw Cardinal Wuerl at a Trump Rose Garden event, I lost much respect and confidence in him. This report would lead me to even more distrust of him.

The pews are emptying. Will Pope Francis insist on the resignation of every Pennsylvania Bishop named in the report?

God forgive us all.

Stuart Meisenzahl
3 months 4 weeks ago

Vince
So many priests so few millstones.....not sure we even have a sea big enough for all that flotsam and jestsam.
Yet you manage in this overwhelming chaos of the moment to make it about Trump! Incredible!!

Vincent Gaglione
3 months 3 weeks ago

Hey Stuart,
How could I not? Recently I have begun to think that the USA Bishops have employed the same kinds of diversions from issues that Trump uses to divert from his policy mistakes and personal foibles. It may be a very cynical attitude, I admit. But the perversity of what has happened, and here I speak solely of the “cover-ups”, makes me wonder why there hasn’t been a more vocal and determined response from the USCCB.

Maybe it’s different where you live. In my parish there hasn’t been a word spoken or written about the crisis, giving some perspective and context for the ordinary Catholic who has to figure out how to personally respond to what is revealed. It’s all very disturbing, disconcerting, and demoralizing, this last word not meant as a pun in any sense!

Vinny

Stuart Meisenzahl
3 months 3 weeks ago

Vince
You ask : "How could you not?
Easy: You undermine your own moral outrage about the Church Issue by going "political "...... And you yourself thereby divert from the distinctly Church issue that needs our 100% attention. This issue has nothing to do with our politics and has spanned the decades of multiple party changes.

Al Cannistraro
3 months 4 weeks ago

I myself was a Catholic school student and an altar boy. I never experienced or was aware of any sexual abuse or inappropriate activity (except for a HS teaching brother making a homosexual pass at a straight former student -- a friend of mine -- who had turned 18). However, I was very aware of (and a "victim" of) violent physical abuse in the name of imposing order and discipline, and of building character. They justified the violence by using the Latin term, in loco parentis.

In actuality, I observed (and sometimes experienced) cruel, violent, pathological assaults.

I felt ashamed for not having the courage to attempt to bring these to the attention of legal authorities. Years later, I discussed my experiences with a local assistant district attorney, who assured me that such assaultive behavior by teachers and administrators in Catholic schools certainly would not even be investigated given the norms of the day.

I mention this not because I harbor any bitterness (I do not), but to suggest that what we now consider to be bad behavior by nuns and brothers and priests was consonant with Catholic values at that time. It was more than just sexual abuse. And more widespread than the numbers in this article about sexual abuse in PA suggest.

Now, there are few perpetrators still alive, and not many victims either. But that's how it was. (The comic movie, "Heaven Help US," made in 1985 but depicting 1965 when I was in high school, accurately illustrates some of the violence.) I am 69 years old.

What kinds of behavior were exceptional vs. normative when you consider the whole panoply?

Without checks and balances, large numbers of bad actors in clerical guise were able to act out in the worse possible ways "in loco parentis." I wonder how bad it actually was, percentagewise.

But that all is history now, and nobody going forward will know or even care. And the few bad actors who will wind up being named will be made to look like rare aberrations.

In truth, the bad actors reflected humanity (or the local culture generally), not Catholicism. At least, that's how I choose to look at it.

Suzanne Smith
3 months 4 weeks ago

Thank you, Al for sharing this. I think some of the extreme treatment you speak of has come to light in the recent stories that have come out of Ireland in particular where compassion and mercy seem to have been woefully absent.

Lisa Weber
3 months 4 weeks ago

Thank you for sharing your experiences and for pointing out that the "norms of the day" were quite different in the 1960's. Those who would like to drag the church backward into the 1950's and 60's have conveniently edited ideas of what that would mean.

Ann Reid
3 months 3 weeks ago

I’m older than you, Al, and I consider this in my thinking about the dire problems in that Church years ago, and this Church, right now. I had an aunt who was deafened when a nun hit her with a book on the side of the head, and only surgery years later gave her back some of the lost hearing. Abuse does absolutely extend into all religions, and we all have access to that information if w seek to find it.
Does the “mystery” of the Roman Catholic Faith cloud discernment of the problems even more?

Al Cannistraro
3 months 3 weeks ago

I still "see stars" and feel a buzz whenever I recall being slammed similarly by a brutish HS teaching brother -- a surprise retribution for some slight as I innocently walked to within his reach. I've occasionally blamed my mental shortcomings on likely having suffered a concussion. Who knows? But if I suffered a concussion, so did many others (and more than once). That sort of acting out by a few bad and brutal brothers was considered OK.

I do think the sexual abuse, the slavery in Ireland, the "disciplinary" violence, and so on, are best understood as being all of a piece.

Al Cannistraro
3 months 3 weeks ago

The story is so much worse than is conveyed by this article. Here is some of the coverage from the NY Times:

Catholic Priests Abused 1,000 Children in Pennsylvania, Report Says
NYTimes
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/14/us/catholic-church-sex-abuse-pennsyl…

**Catholic Church Sexual Abuse Scandal: 7 Excerpts From the Grand Jury Report**
A nearly 900-page report investigating abuse in six dioceses over a period of 70 years documents more than 300 abusive priests
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/14/us/catholic-priests-pennsylvania-chu…

Pennsylvania Grand Jury Says Church Had a ‘Playbook for Concealing the Truth"
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/14/us/pennsylvania-child-abuse-catholic…

The Report
https://int.nyt.com/data/documenthelper/163-grand-jury-report-on-cathol…

sheila gray
3 months 3 weeks ago

Thank you for these links. I am in the process of setting up a Foundation To build a permanent Healing Center in the US for clergy abuse survivors. How is it that such a Healing Center exists
nowhere in the world after years and years of clergy abuse??? The Center’s name will be “Open
The Gate”. Pls reply if you are at all interested in helping. Thank You

rose-ellen caminer
3 months 3 weeks ago

Part of the problem of non sexual abuse by Catholic clergy was that too many parents thought it was perfectly acceptable for teachers to be violent and cruel to children. My mother told me that if nun laid a hand on me, she would have them arrested. She defended children to parents who believed the nuns were doing the right thing; they were set in their ways and could not see that violence and cruelty is abuse. The same people I might add, who saw us as outliers for drinking water, not milk, for eating yogurt, and for my sisters and me going topless on beaches when we had not even reached puberty. It was unbelievable; my mother, and father too, God bless them , was ahead of her time. This "culture" of; the -teacher -knows -best- violence- and -cruelty, did not exist in public schools[at least in NYC] and what matters now is that it no longer exists in Catholic schools and among Catholic parents. That's progress!

Will Niermeyer
3 months 4 weeks ago

I thought I might need that prayer for angry Catholics but at this point I feel I need to leave the Catholic denomination in Christianity and head to the Anglicans.

Suzanne Smith
3 months 4 weeks ago

The Church is not just the clergy! The laity must resist the idea that we have no authority - Do not leave! Help change the Church.

charles jordan
3 months 4 weeks ago

Regarding: "...and the “systematic cover up by senior church officials in Pennsylvania and at the Vatican.”"
- The scandal of episcopal secrecy, subsequent to the rape of children and the molestation of young people by clerics continues to even today. This episcopal scandal will ameliorate only when the heads of the domestic churches, the households of faith, as equals to the episcopate, require every bishop to be punished. This punishment, though a metaphor, requires each bishop to scrub the nave of every church, oratory, chapel, and shrine in the diocese to which they are married. Their efforts will be an atonement for the every omission or commission of their own and their predecessors in the diocese to which they each have been sent. Should they be concerned of earning 'camel knees', then they might be allowed knee pads. Should they be fearful of death before they have completed the punishment, then they should be removed from the episcopacy.
- For those bishops consecrated for churches in 'lands of the unbelievers'; they will not be allowed to uptake their assigned roles as diplomats or as bureaucrats in the Holy See, until they find an active diocese that will let them scrub the floors of all the naves of all the churches, oratories, and chapels in said dioceses before they are allowed to assumed the assigned duties..

Vince Killoran
3 months 4 weeks ago

Among the many terrible things to read from today's report is the bishops running for cover with their statements drawn up and submitted by their lawyers. (They are at the back of the Report.) The contrast with the primary evidence in the Report is startling. One of the most remarkable are the documents by Bishop Kevin Rhoades' (then in the Harrisburg diocese; now in South Bend) where he decides to keep the clear evidence of priest abuse quiet in case it caused "scandal" among the faithful. This kind of thinking is evidence of the diseased mentality among the hierarchy.

Edward Graff
3 months 4 weeks ago

The rush to canonize John Paul II is starting to look like a big mistake. These were his guys, a lot of it happened on his watch, and he didn't believe any of it was going on no matter what evidence was brought to him.

Anne Grady
3 months 3 weeks ago

Every mass should make time for silent meditation.

Anne Grady
3 months 3 weeks ago

Also just about all Catholic television and radio is right-wing and right out of the 1950's! Uninspiring.

Charles Erlinger
3 months 3 weeks ago

Only 49 more state grand juries and who knows how many territory and foreign mission investigations to go. In my experience, when confidence is lost in leadership, leaders go.

Thomas P
3 months 3 weeks ago

Yes, I believe there will be many more reports like this coming out. This seems to be the tip of the iceberg.

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