October 04, 2005

Bishops, where to we go from here?


The deeply disturbing grand jury report on sexual abuse of children by priests in the Philadelphia archdiocese delves into a prolonged and shocking crisis. It reveals the flaws of the system established to protect children and the related extent of the corruption that has seeped into the church’s hierarchical structures.

The Philadelphia report, in an unprecedented way, details the level of deception and misuse of law employed to protect known repeat abusers, including rapists, within the Catholic clergy. The district attorney’s office in Philadelphia, with the benefit of more than 45,000 pages of subpoenaed documents and testimony from more than 100 witnesses gathered over a three-year investigation, fashioned a narrative showing a clergy and hierarchical culture so intent on protecting itself that it placed hundreds of children at risk of cruel exploitation.

If this watershed moment in this awful chapter of modern church history passes without dramatic action on the part of church authorities, then we have to wonder how we can continue to call ourselves Christian, or a church.

We urge you to read the report (available at www.philadelphiadistrictattorney.com/pages/1) as well as the archdiocese’s response to the report (at www.archdiocese-phl.org/grandjury.htm) and the district attorney’s rebuttal to that response.

Posted by kshaw at October 4, 2005 08:22 AM