The archdiocese takes action

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia is feeling the heat.

And I think I know why.

This time, engulfed in another wave of negative news surrounding sexual abuse and priests, the archdiocese is feeling heat from the faithful.

Many of them are losing faith with the way their leaders have responded – again – to more charges of sexual abuse by priests and allegations that church officials knew about it and did not thing to stop it.

And an increasing number of people are talking about hitting the church where it likely would hurt most. In the pocketbook.

Cardinal Justin Rigali turned up the heat on his own flock a bit yesterday, announcing that he was suspending three priests who were named in last week’s grand jury report, and also saying the archdiocese would review all 37 cases of priests alleged to have abused children, but still allowed to remain in active ministry.

The archdiocese also hired a former sex abuse prosecutor to head a review of the way they handle sex abuse complaints.

Many will argue that it is too little, too late. Reading last week’s grand jury report, you can’t help but be dumbstruck at how similar the charges were to what was first laid out five years ago.

Especially when it comes to the way the church investigated the claims, handled problem priests, assigned them to new parishes and also dealt with those who came forward to lodge complaints.

My own pastor at St. Joe’s in Downingtown, Monsignor William Lynn, finds himself facing two counts of endangering the welfare of children. The grand jury in effect is saying the monsignor, in his role as secretary of the clergy, knew what was going on and did nothing to stop it, in fact reassigned problem priests to new parishes without notifying those parishioners.

It is my hope that Cardinal Rigali finally drops the pretense that too often has accompanied the archdiocese’s response.

Instead of simply attacking the problem, they too often attacked the messenger.

That used to be met with blind support from the faithful.

Not any more. The faithful have had enough.

Maybe, just maybe, their church leaders have as well.


Mary Buatti Small said…
Dear Mr. Heron:
Please keep up the pressure on the Archdiocese. As a fellow parishioner at St. Joes, I too am so sad Msgr. Lynn was involved in moving around perpetrators. Let's not forget he most likely didn't write his own job description or establish the policy of moving personnel like it was a shell game. Let's see Cardinals Rigali and Bevilaqua indicted for masterminding the policy. Bill Lynn shouldn't be the fall guy.

Thanks for your clarity and may God help us all.