2018 Catholic Church Sex Abuse Crisis: What you need to know
Editor’s note:This page was updated as America covered the sexual abuse crisis throughout the summer and fall of 2018. Click here for the latest coverage on the ongoing sexual abuse crisis and the church’s response.
Allegations of clerical sexual abuse and its cover-up by church officials have rocked the U.S. Catholic Church this summer. On this page you will find a list of America’s reporting, analysis and reflections on the crisis in the church.
- A clergy sex abuse survivor’s story and its lessons for restoring faith
- Why do we stay in the church?
- Why we still need a synod on youth
- As the church faces another crisis, look to women for help
- The witch hunt for gay priests
- I spoke out on sex abuse—and lay people kicked me out of Mass
- Pope Francis must lead on the sexual abuse crisis
- No, there is not a “civil war” in the Catholic Church
- Dear fellow Catholics: The church needs you now more than ever
- Sexual abuse and the culture of clericalism
- How has the current sexual abuse crisis challenged your faith?
- Don’t blame the sex abuse crisis on queer Catholics
- The plague of sexual abuse is worse than you think.
- Why you should watch “Calvary” after the sex abuse scandal
- A crisis that is far from over: how the church can respond to sexual abuse
- My prayer for fellow survivors of abuse
- We must place our hope not with power or authority, but with abuse survivors
- How do we celebrate the Assumption of Mary in this summer of sex abuse scandals?
- What can I say to my kids when they ask why we keep faith in this church?
- Jesus knew about Cardinal McCarrick
Late Saturday, Aug. 25, an 11-page letter attributed to Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò was published by the National Catholic Register, Life Site News and a number of other sites that report about the church. In it, the former Vatican ambassador to the United States under Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis makes a number of allegations about how Vatican and U.S. cardinals, as well as Pope Francis and previous popes, handled allegations of sexual misconduct against former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. He also calls on Pope Francis to resign.
Asked about the letter during his press conference while returning to Rome from Ireland, Pope Francis confirmed that he had read it but refused to respond to it in detail, telling the journalists on the plane, “Read the statement carefully and make your own judgment. I will not say a single word on this.” He also said they had the “journalistic capacity” to draw their own conclusions and that once some time has passed, he may speak further in response.
Below is a complete list of America’s coverage of the letter, the claims it makes and the responses of those involved.
- Vatican spokesmen contradict Viganò’s account of meeting with Pope Francis about Kim Davis
- Former nuncio now says sanctions against McCarrick were ‘private’
- Vatican officials refuse to discuss Viganò’s letter, encourage journalists to study it
- McCarrick kept a robust public presence during years he was allegedly sanctioned
- Pope Francis addresses abuse—but not Viganò letter—in first audience after Ireland
- Cardinal Burke: It is ‘licit’ to call for resignation of Pope Francis
- Italian journalist says he helped pen bombshell allegation against Pope Francis
- Pope’s alleged cover-up pivots on if and when sanctions were imposed on McCarrick
- Pope addresses Viganò report, child abuse cover-ups and families with gay children in press conference
- Former Vatican envoy pens j’accuse letter in McCarrick case
On Aug. 14, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro presented a more than 800-page report detailing, in horrific detail, over seven decades of sexual abuse committed by priests against minors in six dioceses.
The report has sent shockwaves across the church in the United States, with some comparing the crisis to the fallout that came after the 2002 Boston Globe’s Spotlight report that detailed abuse and cover-up. Below is a summary of responses and analysis that have followed since the report was released.
- Pennsylvania report documents over 1,000 victims of priest abuse
- Report details rape of children, culture of secrecy that fanned it
- Catholics express despair, disbelief, anger at new abuse revelations
- Catholic school to drop name of cardinal accused of inaction on abuse
- Cardinal O’Malley cancels trip to World Meeting of Families to respond to reports of seminary misconduct
- Dear Catholic bishops: This is not the time to play defense
- Cardinal DiNardo announces plan to address ‘moral catastrophe’ of abuse
- Vatican: Pope Francis is on the side of the victims of Pennsylvania abuse
- Bishops around U.S. respond with ‘sorrow’ to abuse report, vow to act
- A.W. Richard Sipe, researcher, expert on clergy sex abuse, dies at 85
- Pennsylvania prelate says bishops who hid abuse should resign
- Pope Francis issues new letter on sex abuse: ‘We showed no care for the little ones’
- Nuncio says U.S. bishops committed to addressing abuse scandal
- Abuse victims say they felt hurt by ordinary Catholics’ lack of compassion
- Victims call for federal investigation of sex abuse in Catholic Church
- Clericalism: The culture that enables abuse and insists on hiding it
- Priest attacked in church; assailant cited abuse scandal
- What happened when a dad challenged his priest during Mass about the sex abuse crisis
- Senate GOP leader in Pennsylvania cautions against retroactive abuse claims
Former Cardinal Theodore McCarick, the former archbishop of Washington, D.C., was removed from ministry after an investigation in claims of sexual abuse against a minor were found credible by an investigation led by the Archdiocese of New York. Shortly after, other men alleged that they were also victims of sexual harassment and sexual abuse, including former seminarians. Below is our coverage of Archbishop McCarrick and the continuing fallout in Washington, D.C.
- Cardinal Wuerl addresses church’s ‘pain, confusion and disillusionment’
- Founding members of Catholic review board offer assistance in McCarrick investigation
- Washington priests talk about keeping faith in wake of abuse scandals
- Cardinal Wuerl’s letter to priests expresses ‘anguish’ for suffering
- Washington Catholics call for Cardinal Wuerl’s resignation, pray for victims
- Details of second letter priest sent to Cardinal O’Malley describing McCarrick abuse
- Cardinal Cupich supports investigation into mishandling of McCarrick complaints
- Reaction to the McCarrick story in the West Coast remains muted so far
- Cardinal Wuerl: Next steps in wake of Archbishop McCarrick allegations
- After McCarrick scandal, will Catholic seminaries better protect young adults?
- Catholic leaders react to McCarrick resignation from College of Cardinals
- Pope Francis accepts Theodore McCarrick’s resignation from the College of Cardinals
- Albany priest describes culture of harassment under McCarrick
- N.Y. Times talks to men who received settlements after alleged abuse by Cardinal McCarrick
- Cardinal McCarrick suspended from public ministry after abuse allegation
- Pope Francis, the bishops and the road to real conversion after the McCarrick scandal
- Why would a priest or seminarian not report sexual harassment by a superior?
- Cardinal McCarrick, seminarians and abuse: how could this happen?
- The Editors: The Catholic Church should not be shocked by the McCarrick case—it should be ashamed.
- Exclusive Interview: Cardinal Wuerl on his resignation, Pope Francis’ letter and more
- Pope Francis accepts the resignation of Cardinal Wuerl
- Cardinal O’Malley asks Vatican to review reports on Buffalo sex abuse
- CARA study indicates decline in abuse reports. Is the worst behind us?
- As bishop looked on, abusive ‘Father Ned’ got new assignment
- Ex-Marquette president asks name be removed from new hall
- Dallas bishop asks pope to convene synod on clergy sex abuse
- National Review Board: Change in the church’s culture, including bishops, needed to end abuse
- Buffalo bishop will not resign over handling of sex abuse
- Decisions regarding accused clerics in Buffalo are focus of new scrutiny
- Prominent Catholics see larger role for laity in church’s abuse response