The Catholic Church has a very huge problem on their shoulders — one that has always existed but never stopped. The issue of sexual abuse has plagued the Church for decades but only recently have the cases against priests hit an unimaginable scale. A new grand jury report released yesterday out of Pennsylvania is horrifying.
A grand jury convened by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court released a 1,356-page report that showed 300 priests in the state’s eight Catholic diocese had sexually abused more than 1,000 children over the span of 70 years. The 18-month investigation included dozens of testimonies and the review of more than 500,000 documents.
The worst part — and there are many terrible things in the report — is that the Church knew about the abuse and did nothing. Actually they did do something: try to hide the issue.
“While each church district had its idiosyncrasies, the pattern was pretty much the same,” the report says. “The main thing was not to help children, but to avoid ‘scandal.’ That is not our word, but theirs; it appears over and over again in the documents we recovered.”
Here’s a section from the report that truly leaves us with no words:
“A priest in the Diocese of Harrisburg abused five sisters in a single family, despite prior reports that were never acted on. In addition to sex acts, the priest collected samples of the girls’ urine, pubic hair, and menstrual blood. Eventually, his house was searched and his collection was found. Without that kind of incontrovertible evidence, apparently, the diocese remained unwilling to err on the side of children even in the face of multiple reports of abuse. As a high-ranking official said about one suspect priest:’At this point we are at impasse – allegations and no admission.’ Years later, the abuser did admit what he had done, but by then it was too late.”
Father Edward Beck told CNN this morning that people should feel safe going to Church because this investigation was about abuse that happened in the past 70 years. He says a lot has changed within the Church especially after the 2002 Boston investigation.
However, how can people still trust the Church when the Vatican has yet to respond to the report? That in itself speaks volumes. The sad fact of the matter is that this is not an isolated incident. As journalist Michael Rendevez — who reported on the Boston Archdiocese — said on “TODAY,” if other attorney generals in the country did their own investigations, they would most likely find more victims.