Vatican calls child abuse criminal

Larry Hoffman
August 19, 2018

The Vatican broke its silence about a grand jury report that detailed decades of sexual abuse of thousands of children by over 300 priests in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania, calling the accusations "criminal and morally reprehensible".

By finding nearly no cases after 2002, the Grand Jury's conclusions are consistent with previous studies showing that Catholic Church reforms in the United States drastically reduced the incidence of clergy child abuse.

The report, published Tuesday, unearthed graphic stories of boys and girls assaulted and raped by Catholic priests in the dioceses of Allentown, Erie, Greensburg, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and Scranton.

"We, the members of this grand jury, need you to hear this".

The disturbing report, which is 884 pages long, found that systemic sexual abuse occurred over in six Pennsylvania dioceses over the span of at least 70 years.

The long-awaited grand jury report was full of vivid examples of horrendous abuse. "However, that fact in no way eases our responsibility and longstanding efforts to ensure the safety of children and families in our Church environments".

By week's end, they had received more than 300 calls and emails - and the number was still growing.

The archdiocese has since developed its own extensive protocol involving those who interact with children and the reporting of any inappropriate incident. In 2002 it lifted the age to 30 from 23 and five years later raised it to age 50.

But because of a variety of factors - such as the statute of limitations expiring, or the accused or accusers having died - none of those roughly 30 Beaver County cases can be prosecuted, District Attorney David Lozier said.

It also has support from state Rep. Jamie Santora, R-163 of Upper Darby.

The Vatican's comments came 48 hours after the Pennsylvania report was released. "We should vote on it and get it on the governor's desk for his signature".

"The abuses described in the report are criminal and morally reprehensible". No excuses. Until then, no more money to this corrupt syndicate. The report said the numbers of actual victims and abusers could be much higher.

The statement by the Vatican's senior spokesman Greg Burke forcefully condemns the sexual abuse of children revealed in the Pennsylvania report.

The child sexual abuse crisis within the Catholic church is not unique to the United States, however, but is rather a growing, worldwide predicament.

Among its many revelations, the report exposed the way some used Pennsylvania's statute of limitations on reporting child sex abuse to their advantage. The Cardinal explained that the USCCB Executive Committee has "established an outline of these necessary changes", and indicated "three goals: an investigation into the questions surrounding Archbishop McCarrick; an opening of new and confidential channels for reporting complaints against bishops; and advocacy for more effective resolution of future complaints".

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