Wednesday, September 21, 2005

THE REPORT FALLS

As predicted, the report of the grand jury into clergy sex abuse in the archdiocese of Philadelphia was released this morning.... Full report here as a PDF, early feed from the Inquirer:

The grand jury, which investigated the archdiocese for more than three years, concluded that at least 63 priests - and probably many more - sexually abused hundreds of minors over the past several decades.

But even more disturbing, the jurors found, was the coverup by the two previous archbishops, Cardinals John Krol and Anthony J. Bevilacqua who, they concluded, "excused and enabled the abuse" and put the legal and financial interests and moral reputation of the archdiocese ahead of protecting the children entrusted to its care.

"Those choices went all the way to the top - to Cardinal Bevilacqua and Cardinal Krol personally," the report states.

"...The behavior of Archdiocese officials was perhaps not so lurid as that of the individual priest sex abusers. But in its callous, calculating manner, the Archdiocese's "handling" of the abuse scandal was at least as immoral as the abuse itself...."

And the diocese has responded in typical style:

In a blistering 70-page response, the church rejected virtually the entire report, calling it "a vile, mean-spirited diatribe" - comparable to the "rampant Know-Nothingisms of the 1840s," a notorious period of anti-Catholic prejudice.

While condemning priests that abused, the church response vigorously defends Cardinal Krol and Bevilacqua. It says the DA's report is "rife with mistakes, unsupported inferences and misguided conclusions."

More soon....

UPDATE #1: The report has come down pretty harshly against the two previous archbishops, Cardinals John Krol and Anthony Bevilacqua. Just know that what I'm seeing already has me in tears....

-30-

3 Comments:

Blogger Jeff said...

Poor Philly!

And my heart goes out to you, Rocco. I know how close you've been to Bevilacqua. What can I say that won't end up sounding to someone either like an excuse or a premature condemnation?

I hope you and all your friends weather the storm.

21/9/05 12:47  
Blogger patrick said...

When I get a chance I'll read the whole report as well as the Archdiocese's response before I prematurely react, though I am sure that some of the Archdiocese's tactics are objectionable in one way or another.

I noticed that the DA is calling for unlimited statute of limitations for child sex abuse, which, if implemented, is simply ripe for abuse. Sex abuse victims are not potted plants and MUST take some initiative to file lawsuits or go to the police in a reasonable period of time. The age of 25 sounds like a reasonable cut-off period.

And, I am skeptical of requiring people to report any allegation of child abuse to the authorities no matter how long ago or how indirectly one finds out about it. We don't have such laws for murder or rape or almost any other crime. Reporting statutes should be restricted to cases where the child is in an ongoing abusive relationship where state intervention is required to remove the child from the abusive situation.

21/9/05 14:13  
Blogger patrick said...

My impression:

The aspersions against Cardinal B's character do seem to be a stretch.

On the other hand, the accusations against Cardinal K. appear to be much more serious. The Grand Jury Report indicates that Cardinal K simply shuffled offending clerics from parish to parish only to avoid scandal, despite Cardinal K.'s hortatory warnings. The Archdiocesan response did little to contradict other than to point out that Cardinal K was dead and unable to respond to the accusations.

As to some of the suggestions about criminal liability for unincorprated associations for tolerating criminal conduct among its members, you can bet that the labor unions will strongly oppose that one!

21/9/05 16:55  

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