Dear Commons Community,
The Vatican issued a statement and expressed “shame and sorrow” yesterday about the Pennsylvania grand jury report that said clergy raped and molested children in six dioceses. The statement said that the abuse was “criminally and morally reprehensible.” As reported by the Los Angeles Times:
“The church must learn hard lessons from its past, and there should be accountability for both abusers and those who permitted abuse to occur,” he said.
Francis had recently accepted the resignation from cardinal’s rank of former Washington Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, who has been accused of sexual abuse. It was the first time a prelate had lost his cardinal’s rank in a sexual abuse scandal, and Francis was stepping up his crackdown to include some of the highest-ranking churchmen.
Burke said Francis “understands well how much these crimes can shake the faith and the spirit of believers, and reiterates the call to make every effort to create a safe environment for minors and vulnerable adults in the church and in all of society.”
I am not sure if this statement is enough for many Catholics. It is bad enough that the grand jury report identified more than 300 priests guilty of the abuse but what about all of the other priests in the Catholic Church who must have known of these cases. There had to be fellow priests, pastors, bishops and other high-ranking administrators in the Catholic hierarchy in Pennsylvania and elsewhere who knew about the abuse and who said nothing and instead swept the issue under the rug leaving the abusers to continue to prey on young people.
This situation has surely rocked the foundations of Catholicism in this country. Police departments are known for having a “blue wall of silence” when it comes to protecting rogue cops. The Catholic church has a “black wall.”