Supporters of the Catholic Church have been deeply shaken in recent times by an abuse scandal concerning over 300 Catholic priests.
The alleged abuse took place across six dioceses in Pennsylvania, dating back to 1947. It has been alleged over 1,000 children were abused by priests, with some church leaders actively covering up the crimes.
The nightmarish scale of the alleged abuse is truly devastating, and it seems there could be more horror to come; with abuse allegations stretching way beyond Pennsylvania.
Following the explosive report from a grand jury in Pennsylvania, attorneys general in both New York and New Jersey have announced similar investigations, with Missouri, Nebraska and Illinois also initiating state-level probes.
With more states expected to follow suit, the Catholic Church is in crisis; with potentially grave repercussions for leaders accused of covering up the abuses.
As reported by the Wall Street Journal, the Vatican will soon respond to accusations Pope Francis covered up sexual misconduct by favoured US cardinal, Theodore McCarrick.
On Thursday (September 14) Pope Francis is due to meet with a delegation of church leaders from the US, including US Conference of Catholic Bishops head, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, and Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley.
Developing!! Houston area priest, Father Manuel La Rosa-Lopez, is charged with sexually abusing children when he was at Conroe’s Sacred Heart Catholic Church in 1999-2000. More to come on #abc13 pic.twitter.com/BgzbssltrS
— Miya Shay (@ABC13Miya) September 12, 2018
Los Angeles based sexual-abuse lawyer John C. Manly told Vice how the current crisis is ‘different’ to scandals seen in previous years:
I used to say the Church would be around long after I’m dead and gone, and I’m sure it will be—but I see this as a greatly diminished institution. I do see hierarchy going to jail. What’s needed here, really, is a federally, multi-district investigation.
The Church has been given the benefit of the doubt—and multiple chances—like no other institution in the world. And what they’ve proven is that they will not address the underlying problem that is causing this, which I think is celibacy. It doesn’t work; it’s never worked. You never hear it debated in any of this stuff.
Manly continued to offer some bleak predictions for the church’s future:
In terms of the #MeToo movement, we’re going to hold powerful people accountable no matter what—and that’s a very helpful thing to know for survivors.
I think we’re going to look back on this as a Martin Luther moment, where someone’s nailing the theses to the door. I think the Church has destroyed itself. It will exist as a smaller form of what it used to be.
Never have I seen a moment like this in the Catholic Church. Where in the midst of a scandal, partisans seek to dismiss charges of abuse as weapons in some political war. While Catholics savage each other, the innocent abandon the faith in disgust. And Rome remains silent.
— Raymond Arroyo (@RaymondArroyo) September 8, 2018
Last month, the Vatican released the following apology:
With shame and repentance, we acknowledge as an ecclesial community that we were not where we should have been, that we did not act in a timely manner, realizing the magnitude and the gravity of the damage done to so many lives. We showed no care for the little ones; we abandoned them.
Our thoughts are with all those who have been abused by individuals who concealed their crimes behind powerful and respected positions.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues, and want to speak to someone in confidence regarding the welfare of a child contact the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000. If you are a child seeking advice and support call Childline for free on 0800 1111.
If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via [email protected]
Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.