The Economist - August 18th 2018





Clerical sex abuse




Cardinal sins

A horrific past that refuses to go away



CATHOLIC America was already in shock, and then another hammer-blow fell. Two weeks after one of the country's best-known prelates handed in his cardinal's hat, amid allegations of molesting young men, a report has documented in sickening detail the sexual crimes that were perpetrated by over 300 priests in Pennsylvania over 70 years.


More than 1,000 children, and probably several times that number, were victims of clerical abuse that was systematically swept under the carpet, according to a judicial document of nearly 900 pages which was published on August 14th, as Catholics prepared for one of their cherished annual feasts, the Assumption of the Virgin.


The report was written by a grand jury that took around two years to investigate six of the eight dioceses in the state. They heard from dozens of witnesses and used their power to gain access to 500,000 pages of church documents.


The American Catholic church has struggled to cope with historical sex-abuse allegations since they exploded in the archdiocese of Boston two decades ago, and it has paid billions of dollars to victims. But the grand jury's investigation, focusing on a state long seen as a heartland of blue-collar Catholicism, was the broadest fact-finding exercise to date.


The jurors' grim findings follow a decision by Pope Francis to accept the resignation from the status of cardinal, pending a church trial, of Theodore McCarrick, an American cleric who is now 88. As Washington DC’s archbishop, he is remembered as a familiar, affable figure in the corridors of power. Not since their 1920s has a cardinal been stripped of his rank.


The Pennsylvania report struck an emotional note for a legal document. The jurors began with the words: "We...need you to hear this...There have been other reports about child sex abuse within the Catholic church. But never on this scale...Now we know the truth: it happened everywhere."


The jurors gave many grisly examples. One priest in the diocese of Erie, in northwest Pennsylvania, had confessed to the rape of at least 15 boys, some as young as seven, only to be hailed by his bishop as a "person of candour and sincerity" who deserved praise "for the progress he had made" in controlling his "addiction".


The jurors agree that much has changed in the past 15 years, and that the church seems far quicker to report abuse to the police. They hailed as "forthright and heartfelt" the testimony they had received, in person, from the current bishop of Erie.


Still, they found it regrettable that thanks to cynical cover-ups and a statute of limitations, it had been left too late to prosecute in the vast majority of cases. They urged Pennsylvania's lawmakers to remove time limits for criminal cases of this sort. A recent change has made it possible for victims to come forward up to the age of 50, but that still seems too restrictive.


In their response to the report, bishops mixed deep regret for past wrongs with an insistence that things had improved, especially since 2002 when new guidelines for dealing with sex offenders were adopted. Cardinal McCarrick helped shape that new approach, but fell foul of it himself. ■


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THE  PREVIOUS  POPE  SAID  THAT  THE  NEW  TESTAMENT  DOES  NOT  TEACH  CELIBACY  FOR  MINISTERS  OF  THE  GOSPEL;  BUT  THE  TRADITION  OF  UN-MARRIED  PRIESTS  WOULD  CONTINUE,  HE  SAID,  AS  THEY  COULD  SPEND  MORE  TIME  IN  THE  SERVICE  OF  THE  PEOPLE.


YA  WHILE  THEY  SERVED  THEMSELVES  ON  CHILDREN!


THE  MOVIE  “SPOTLIGHT”  SHOWS  THE  TRUTH  THAT  WAS  UNCOVERED  IN  BOSTON,  AND  THEN  AROUND  THE  WORLD.


IT  BEFUDDLES  ME  HOW  WITH  ALL  THIS  UNCOVERING  OF  COVER-UPS  OF  SEXUAL  ABUSE  IN  THE  CATHOLIC  CHURCH,  THAT  MILLIONS  ARE  NOT  LEAVING  THAT  RELIGIOUS  ORGANIZATION.


OH  THE  CATHOLIC  CHURCH  WILL  CONTINUE  FOR  SURE,  AND  AS  THE  WORLD  HEADS  FOR  MORE  DISASTERS,  IN  WARS,  IN  CLIMATE  CHANGE,  IN  CRAZY  POLITICS,  IN  SINS  OF  EVERY  NATURE,  AS  EVIL  WILL  ABOUND [JESUS  TELLING  US  THAT  BEFORE  HE  RETURNS  -  MATTHEW  24];  WHEN  THE  WORLD  BEGINS  TO  EXPLODE  INTO  INSANITY,  THERE  WILL  COME  A  GREAT  FALSE  PROPHET  FROM  THE  LARGEST  CHRISTIAN  RELIGIOUS  CHURCH  ON  EARTH [TWO  GUESSES  WHO  THAT  IS,  AND  THE  FIRTS  ONE  DOES  NOT  COUNT],  DOING  MIGHTY  MIRACLES;  THE  WESTERN  WORLD  WILL  BELIEVE  HE  IS  GOD  ON  EARTH;  THOSE  WHO  DO  NOT  AS  THE  NATIONS  OF  THE  ANGLO-SAXON  BRITISH  COMMONWEALTH  AND  THE  USA  AND  SOME  NATIONS  OF  EUROPE,  WILL  BE  DESTROYED  AND  HELD  CAPTIVE  BY  THIS  END  TIME  7TH  RESURRECTION  OF  THE  HOLY  ROMAN  EMPIRE.


WE  SHALL  THEN  ENTER  THE  GREATEST  TRIBULATION  THIS  WORLD  HAS  EVER  EXPERIENCED  IN  HUMAN  HISTORY;  IF  JESUS  DID  NOT  RETURN  TO  STOP  IT  AND  BRING  IN  THE  KINGDOM  OF  GOD  ON  EARTH,  NO  FLESH  WOULD  SURVIVE!


HE  THAT  HAS  EARS  TO  HEAR  WITH  SHOULD  HEAR!


Keith Hunt