October 25, 2005

The crisis of credibility in Philadelphia



What happens now in Philadelphia given the archdiocese’s disingenuous response to the grand jury on clergy sexual abuse?

Two things will happen.

First, even further alienation of the Catholic community as a result of the archdiocese’s position.

Second, significant additional victims of clergy sexual abuse, particularly female and minority, will be empowered to come forward.

Because of entrenched clericalism in the conservative Philadelphia archdiocese, it considered no alternative but to respond as it did in its 76-page report just as, historically, it considered no alternative to protecting an institution at the expense of its children. If there were more reasoned voices around, they certainly were not listened to in Philadelphia before the archdiocese released its response to the grand jury report, any more than they had been listened to for decades.

We all know of sisters and priests who were transferred or fired from their ministries, removed from the “clerical fast track,” as some would call it, or disciplined in some manner because they attempted to alert leadership to serious problems.

Posted by kshaw at October 25, 2005 07:23 PM