Wednesday, March 09, 2011

"Now The Scandal Is Amplified Ten-Fold"

And so, on this Ash Wednesday, the fallout begins.... Again.

In the wake of the largest single suspension of priests in the history of the Stateside church, a bishop on these shores -- indeed, a B16 appointee -- sent the following impressions:
I am amazed at what is happening in Philly. For the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to have this many priests who have had an allegation against them still in active ministry years later leads me to believe that someone made the decision somewhere along the road to allow this.

Instead of being overly cautious to protect children from any possible further harm and the church from further scandal, they let these guys back into ministry. Now the scandal is amplified ten-fold because it looks like it is the same old church and the same old leadership doing what it has always done in the past.

What were they thinking? In this day and age, this stuff never stays hidden. And it shouldn't. This is a tragedy for the people, priests, and the church of Philadelphia, all because someone did not exercise due diligence and good judgment.

Sometimes I think that, when we talk about the "new evangelization," we need to start with evangelizing those of us in leadership first.
...meanwhile, the lead force behind the second grand jury into the River City church -- Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams, himself a Catholic -- issued the following statement late yesterday:
We have been advised that the Archdiocese has taken action and suspended from ministry 21 of the priests referenced in the recent grand jury report concerning sexual abuse by clergy.

Cardinal Rigali’s actions are as commendable as they are unprecedented, and they reflect his concern for the physical and spiritual well-being of those in his care. We appreciate that the Archdiocese has acknowledged the value of the report, and seen fit to take some of the steps called for by the grand jury.

Going forward, in cases involving allegations of abuse by clergy, my Office and the Philadelphia Police will investigate, and where appropriate we will charge and prosecute. I intend to use the resources of this Office to the greatest extent possible to protect the children of Philadelphia. In those cases where allegations are not prosecutable because of the statute of limitations or some other reason, we encourage the Archdiocese to take the necessary and proper steps to protect the children for whom they are responsible, as they have done here.
* * *
And on the ground, as another out-of-town cleric observed, "I don't know how your guys [who remain] get out of bed and do Ash Wednesday."

Shattered as they are from the "tsunami," my guys will... indeed, they've already begun.

Sure, yesterday might've been the darkest day of their priesthood. But even so, in this town, for the celebrated "long black line," "the life" continues....

And as it does -- as Lent begins -- we are all rocked. We are all shaken. We are all broken.


Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth....

Of this earth.