Monday, September 19, 2005

Shifting Gear

With Prayer on the Parkway on the books as a success (turnout estimates in the 25,000 range), the central focus returns again to the release of the report of the grand jury investigating sex abuse by clergy in the archdiocese of Philadelphia.

As rebuttals to the report from parties involved were due on August 31 and the jury's mandate expired last Friday, there is sufficient reason to believe that we will be seeing it within days. From the Saturday Inquirer:
With its term expiring yesterday, the Philadelphia grand jury investigation into clergy sexual abuse - the nation's longest-running such probe - is expected soon to issue an exhaustive report.

The inquiry is expected to add extensive new information about the extent of the problem and how the church's leadership responded to reports of abuse.
The justification for not naming accused priests is worth noting:
While the Philadelphia Archdiocese says it has identified at least 44 priests who have sexually abused minors, it has refused to name them.

The Inquirer, through interviews and court records, has identified several dozen.

The archdiocese has said that disclosing the names of all accused priests "would be like a second strike" on victims, perhaps causing their identities, in turn, to be made public.

Nobody said purification was easy.



Blogger patrick said...

Lame p.r. rationale for withholding names. On the other hand, the diocesan release of names by Baltimore, et. al was also a p.r. move designed to keep nasty press articles at bay. At least in Baltimore, it was a successful p.r. move, but any conceivable protection to the public was pretty small compared to the grave harm to the former priests that that resulted. I'm withholding judgment on ArchPhilly's decision pending the grand jury report.

19/9/05 13:57  
Blogger Fr. John said...

The archdiocese will, I fear, sacrifice the priests if it believes that it is in its interest to do so, justice be damned.

The fact is that the bishops are in fact, if not in image, persuing the exact same policy that they have persued since the 1950s at least. They will do whatever appears to shore up the reputation of themselves and the Church. From the 1950s until the Dallas Accord, that usually meant secrecy. Since 2002 that same policy was persued by sacrificing the priests, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on programs and audits and record-keeping that has doubtful utility, and now, the brunt of the policy will fall on gay seminarians.

Same policy, same perpetrators, different victims.

19/9/05 18:34  

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