Bishop Edward Malesic of the diocese of Greensburg, Pennsylvania delivered a pre recorded taped homily to every church at every mass this Sunday. Having attended the 9:30 this morning I listened intently to his twelve minute address.
The Bishop’s remarks were very heavy on apology and his expression of sorrow and contrition for the situation over the last 70 years. He expressed remorse and sorrow for all his priests and assured every listener that any instance of abuse that is presented to him will be taken seriously with swift action and involvement of the civil authorities. There also was a bit of his remarks addressed to the good work the parish has done under his tutelage in the area of reaching out to the poor. A bit of a pep talk as far as I’m concerned but probably what many of the listeners needed. And he reassured anyone having been abused that coming forward would result in a proper investigation of the claim and an assurance that the diocese would do everything in its power to aid in the healing process.
Bishop Malesic has been the ordinary for about three years. In his time there has been one accusation that occurred over 50 years ago, that was deemed credible. The offending priest was removed in one day and a proper investigation would ensue. The alleged incident occurred before the priest in question was even admitted to the seminary. My impression is that the Bishop is going to take this very, very seriously. His only personal dealing with this is that one 50 year old allegation I referred to.
The cynic would think, listening to him, that he is simply saying all the right things. The believer, as I am, should take away from his talk, that at face value this will not occur under his watch. I hope that is right. Time will tell.
I felt a little sorry for him, because all this happened before his time and he is the one who has to deal with the mess. He has taken steps to do so. In this diocese now, if a layperson wants to bake a cake for the parish festival, read as lector at mass or participate in any lay function, liturgical, social, or otherwise in this diocese, one must take the “virtus” training program for the protection of youth, and pass a state police and FBI background check.
Here’s hoping this problem goes the way of the dodo.