Pope Expresses "Shame and Sorrow" over Pennsylvania Sex Abuse Case

Clay Curtis
August 18, 2018

Reuters reported Thursday that the bishops called for the Vatican to lead a probe backed by lay investigators.

"As a body of bishops, we are shamed by and sorry for the sins and omissions by Catholic priests and Catholic bishops". "They've been keeping secrets and we need to stop the secrecy".

The report from a Pennsylvania grand jury found that 301 priests abused children in the state over the past 70 years. Due to continuing legal battles, more than a dozen names and related information remain redacted. "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".

Numerous identified priests will not face justice as most are already deceased and for those still alive, the alleged crimes are too old to be prosecuted.

These monstrous acts, and many more, were committed by some 300 priests against at least 1,000 children in six Pennsylvania dioceses. The findings in the other two dioceses were detailed in previous reports.

The Vatican, in its statement, expressed "shame and sorrow" over the events.

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Pennsylvania's report named hundreds of what it called "predator priests", including one in Harrisburg, the late Rev. Augustine Giella, who allegedly molested five sisters from one family in the 1980s.

The two scandals represent a stunning turn for the 77-year-old leader, who over the decades earned the respect of fellow bishops and prided himself in taking tough steps to combat clergy sex abuse during his 18 years in Pittsburgh. McCarrick recently resigned amid allegations of sexual misconduct.

He said that the church had used the "weaponization of faith" to silence victims: "They allowed priests to remain active for as long as 40 years". Some clergy on that list are deceased, while others have been removed from ministry.

A boy was made to confess his sins to the priest who had abused him. The total number now stands at 72. Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said church officials needed to comply with all laws about reporting suspected abuse to authorities.

ME investigated its only diocese, releasing a report in 2004, and New Hampshire investigated its only diocese, coming to a 2002 settlement that involved the diocese enacting strict new child protection policies. They should not apply to criminal investigations, and in civil cases they should not give either party the right or obligation to decline cooperation with law enforcement, the report says. That's ultimately how Pennsylvania's grand jury investigation began. As of August 15, the list hadn't been released.

"This excuses nothing, and we can never become complacent about our responsibility to protect children and adults from abuse and harassment, but it does say something about the effects of our post-2002 policies", Cupich wrote, claiming that "in many ways we can say that the policies. have been successful".

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