Breaking news out of Pennsylvania: the state Supreme Court has ordered the release next month of a 900-page grand jury report that will discuss more than 300 “predator priests” in six of the state’s eight Catholic dioceses.
According to PennLive.com:
The findings, which exceed 800 pages, are widely expected to expose decades-old abuse of children at the hands of priests in the dioceses of Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Scranton, Erie and Greensburg.
The report is sealed, and it’s not yet known what time period it investigates. In Pennsylvania, victims of child sex abuse have until they are 30 to file civil suits and until they are 50 to file criminal charges. The criminal age was extended in 2008 from age 30.
The grand jury report is investigative in nature and does not recommend charges of any kind against anyone. However, prosecutors can choose to file charges.
Think of it: over three hundred predator priests. Is there any time period under which a number like that could be adequately leavened. My God.
National Review‘s Michael Brendan Dougherty, who has become must reading since the McCarrick scandal broke, is on fire:
300 predator priests and we’re jut talking about 3/4 of the diocese in 1 US state.
The seminaries don’t need another visitation from Rome, they need to be raided by the FBI. Then they should be burned and salted. https://t.co/hEBBhzuSDa
— Michael Brendan Dougherty (@michaelbd) July 28, 2018
Meanwhile, Catholic blogger Rebecca Hamilton, reflecting on McCarrick, pays tribute to Gov. Frank Keating, whom the US Catholic bishops named to head their National Review Board in the wake of the 2002 scandal — and who quit in disgust. Excerpt:
If ever there was a marriage NOT made in heaven, it would be former Governor Keating and the bishops. It was obvious to anyone with half a brain that a good number of these bishops were guilty of extensive criminal behavior, and that they almost had to be sexual predators of some sort themselves. Normal moral people can’t do what they did and live with themselves afterwards. Someone who is really a Christian wouldn’t have been able to keep on harming children like this. The Holy Spirit would have convicted them of their sin and they would have had to stop.
The fact that they had kept on and on and on, doing this to children, and were so completely arrogant and unrepentant, said it all. At least some of the bishops were hardened sexual predators who gave every evidence of being sociopaths. That was obvious from the facts.
Needless to say, the whole thing blew up. Before long, Governor Keating had resigned his position, declaring that the bishops behaved “like Cosa Nostra.”
Here is what he said in his resignation letter:
My remarks which some bishops found offensive, were deadly accurate. I make no apology. To resist grand jury subpoenas, to suppress the names of offending clerics, to deny, to obfuscate, to explain away; that is the model of a criminal organization, not my church.
Church officials, and several of the people who served on the committee with Governor Keating denied his charges.
The sex abuse crisis in the Catholic Church has become a sore that won’t heal, a bowl of soup that won’t empty, an unending series of revelations and betrayals that slash across the claims that the priesthood makes about itself like a knife. The latest installment is, of course, the revelation that none other than Cardinal Theodore McCarrick himself is a sexual predator, and that lots of people inside the Church knew it for a very long time.
It would have been a lot easier on all of us if we’d just believed Frank Keating, back in the day. I can say that because I did believe him. I knew he was telling the truth.
Read the whole thing to see why Hamilton believed Frank Keating from the get-go. It’s powerful stuff.
All those children. All those families. All those Catholics who trusted that they were being led by men of God.
After the grand jury report comes out, and reporters eventually uncover Cardinal McCarrick’s own sleazy network, it’s going to be hard to see how the US Catholic bishops recover any kind of reputation. Maybe they will, but this is hideous, hideous material.
Meanwhile, look at what Cardinal Tobin’s people are doing to Philly-based church chronicler Rocco Palmo, in an attempt to distance the Newark prelate from his advocate Uncle Ted:
Per Whispers op, June’s credible finding of abuse of a minor by Card McCarrick is now under added probe by CDF – a first in the case of a cardinal… given other noise around of late, meantime, all this likewise needs be said: pic.twitter.com/rwOMIlfCjq
— Rocco Palmo (@roccopalmo) July 27, 2018