After two years of thorough investigation, the Pennsylvania Attorney General released a report on Aug. 14 detailing the myriad of allegations against members of various Catholic dioceses dating back to the 1940s. In the 884 page report, 301 accused priests, clergy and lay teachers were named from churches across the Allentown, Erie, Greensburg, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and Scranton dioceses, 99 of which were from Pittsburgh alone.
In the aftermath of the report, Bishop David Zubik of the Pittsburgh Diocese sent a letter to his parishioners expressing his remorse over the situation, as well as explaining the ways the diocese is improving to avoid future abuse. Zubik states that 90 percent of the accusations took place prior to 1990, and none of those listed in the report are currently active in the Catholic Church.
“The Church is the Body of Christ. We are called to be His face, His hands, His heart. Today, we are all wounded in some way by the heartbreaking accounts in the grand jury report,” Zubik said.
More than 1,000 victims’ claims had been covered up by the Catholic Church’s “7-Step Playbook,” which was their official secret list of steps to take to protect their members who molested or abused minors and hide what they’ve done.
“The main thing was not to help children, but to avoid scandal. Priests were raping little boys and girls and the men of God who were responsible for them not only did nothing: They hid it all,” Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro stated in the grand jury report.
Since the release of the initial report, there have been roughly 50 additional accusations sent to the Pittsburgh Diocese and three priests have been suspended, only one of which was still active at the time. There have been cases of various people actively resenting or speaking out against their churches, such as a recent event on Sept. 2. During Sunday Mass in Washington, a woman stood in the middle of Cardinal Donald Wuerl’s speech and shouted, “Shame on you!” at him, with another woman turning her back on him.
Throughout the numerous news reports on the subject, the media has left no detail out and has not covered it gently. Full detail on the report and its content have been included in countless articles, containing names and specific, detailed instances from various allegations. The same standard has been held through many other stories of the same nature and, although it can be seen as insensitive, no detail should be excluded where abuse is involved.
Church officials have hidden the truth from their parishioners and the general public for decades and likely would have continued to do so had this investigation not occurred. As more updates continue to come to light on the situation, a multitude of news outlets will continue to deliver the information the public needs immediately.