October 27, 2005

Bucks County parishioners blast priest for abuse cover-up

The Morning Call

By Pervaiz Shallwani
Of The Morning Call

A Bucks County Catholic priest identified in a grand jury report as helping to cover up sexual abuse by priests in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia faced angry parishioners at an unusual meeting Wednesday and asked for their forgiveness.

''I want you to know how sorry I am that this awful tragedy of sexual abuse occurred, and I am sincerely sorry for anything that I have done or didn't do that might have contributed to this situation,'' Monsignor Samuel E. Shoemaker told more than 400 people packed into St. Ignatius of Antioch Church in Yardley.

But for many at the meeting he had called, that wasn't good enough. One man held a sign saying

''Prison=justice'' in front of Shoemaker, who is mentioned at least 55 times in the scathing Philadelphia grand jury report released last month.

''I have a very direct question for the monsignor: Does it take an investigation by the state of Pennsylvania to know that you may or may not have committed a sin?'' said another man, lifetime parishioner Craig Mordock, 34, of Newtown.

A man who said he has been a parishioner for 20 years said he could forgive Shoemaker ''because I am a good Catholic. But I can't forgive the priests who stole our church. …They have to be held accountable, and we have to stand up publicly and say: 'You must go.''' Applause lasting 30 seconds followed his remarks.

Posted by kshaw at October 27, 2005 09:02 AM