Tuesday, March 08, 2011

"The Eye of the Storm"

As one Philadelphia priest put it early this morning, "We are in the midst of an earthquake"... and as it hit, the names of the removed were quietly wiped from the archdiocesan website.

A formal announcement -- in press-release form -- is expected sometime this afternoon.

SVILUPPO: Shortly after 3pm, it finally emerged -- 21 Philadelphia priests have been placed on administrative leave...

Their names, however, remain undisclosed.

From the announcement:
Cardinal [Justin] Rigali said, "These have been difficult weeks since the release of the Grand Jury Report: difficult most of all for victims of sexual abuse, but also for all Catholics and for everyone in our community.

"As we strive to move forward today," Cardinal Rigali added, "I wish to express again my sorrow for the sexual abuse of minors committed by any members of the Church, especially clergy. I am truly sorry for the harm done to the victims of sexual abuse, as well as to the members of our community who suffer as a result of this great evil and crime."

The Grand Jury Report identified 37 cases of concern. In addition to the 21 announced today, three priests were placed on administrative leave after the report was released in February. Five others would have been subject to administrative leave. However, one who was already on leave and two who are incapacitated have not been in active ministry. Two others no longer serve in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and, as both are members of a Religious Order, the Archdiocese has notified the Superiors of their Religious Orders and the Bishops of the Dioceses where they are residing.

The remaining eight priests will not be subject to administrative leave. The initial independent examination of these cases found no further investigation is warranted.

All 37 cases were subject to a review using the Pennsylvania Crimes Code, the Child Protective Services Act, the "Essential Norms" from the Charter for the Protection of Young People of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and the Archdiocese's Standards for Ministerial Behavior and Boundaries. The cases of those on administrative leave involve a range from allegations of sexual abuse of a minor to boundary issues with minors....

Cardinal Rigali said, "I want to be clear: These administrative leaves are interim measures. They are not in any way final determinations or judgments."

"I know that for many people their trust in the Church has been shaken," stated the Cardinal. "I pray that the efforts of the Archdiocese to address these cases of concern and to re-evaluate our way of handling allegations will help rebuild that trust in truth and justice."