Pittsburgh Bishop calls for Year of Repentance


Bishop David Zubik has called for a “Year of Repentance” beginning later this month in response to the “sinful actions of the members of our own ranks of the clergy” in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh.

The call comes nearly a month after the release of a report by a statewide grand jury, identifying more than 90 priests in the Diocese of Pittsburgh who have been accused of sexual abuse in the past seven decades. The report, which spanned six Pennsylvania dioceses, also accused bishops of enabling abusers by covering up their crimes.

The first main event of the year will be a solemn prayer service at St. Paul Cathedral in Oakland on Sept. 23. Other parishes can follow suit, Bishop Zubik said in a letter sent Monday to priests.

“We have been taught from our earliest years as Catholic Christians to ask forgiveness from both God and neighbor,” Bishop Zubik wrote. “Faced with the sinful actions of the members of our own ranks of the clergy, who are called to manifest the example of Christ, we feel both shame and sorrow, and are reminded of our own sinfulness and the need for mercy.”

Bishop Zubik based his call on an appeal by Pope Francis, in an Aug. 20 letter responding to the Pennsylvania grand jury report, to respond with penitential acts of prayer.

He is asking for clergy to fast and pray particularly on “ember days,” or four sets of three days throughout the church calendar that are typically set aside for such penitential acts



Love the year of repentance for the sinful acts… prayer and fasting is a very good start, but not nearly enough. Heinous, criminal acts need concrete action… hoping and praying this start turns in to much more.

Here’s to hoping that is will someday be safe for my children to alone with a priest again


Since 2002, every time there is any report of sexual misconduct, the clergy member is immediately removed from ministry and the matter is turned over to law enforcement.

Since roughly that same time, extensive psych testing has been done on all candidates for the clergy.

Since roughly that time, every single person in ministry is required to undergo training to identify potential abusers and all of us are now mandatory reporters.

Exactly what more would you like the Church to do?

There is absolutely NO WAY to guarantee that a clergy member won’t engage in some kind of misconduct, but of the 90 reported cases in the Attorney General report, exactly 6 have been in the last 30 years.


Please take the way intend Deacon Jeff… by i’d like to see all criminal negligent enabler Bishops prosecuted. I’d like for the Church to identify these people and implicate them.


I agree. The problem is that people are labeling some bishops as “criminally negligent enablers” without all of the facts.

Did you know that in many of these cases, the VICTIM demanded a confidentiality provision because they were understandably embarrassed by the event?

Did you know that prior to the mid 90s, the medical professionals were telling our Bishops that this conduct was a “mental illness” that could be treated and cured, and out of charity the Church paid for the treatments and when it was informed that the abusing clergy member was “cured” by the Medical Professionals, returned the clergy to ministry.

Did you know that prior to the mid 90s, canon law REQUIRED bishops to return clergy to ministry in the face of allegations of misconduct unless the clergy member ADMITTED the wrongdoing?

Did you know that one of the bishops who is being most roundly castigated for allegedly being an “enabler” is responsible for having that provision of canon law changed when he DEFIED THE VATICAN and refused to return a so-called “cured” priest to ministry?

FACT: Your children are far more safe around priests now than they are in day-care or public school.


Where can we read more about this interesting story?





Thanks for the information Deacon Jeff.

Keep them coming, they help.

God Bless


Doing fasts and penances doesn’t shift the blame to anyone.


Philadelphia is having a 7 hour prayer vigil at the Basilica on Friday night for reparation and mercy.


The single most important thing clergy should do is listen to people, acknowledge their pain, and express remorse and sorrow on behalf of the Church. It doesn’t matter that I wasn’t the abuser, I am part of the Church, and I am both embarrassed and horrified by what was done to them.

Victims are to be cared for, assisted and thanked for bravely coming forward.

All the clergy of our parish have been doing precisely that: through preaching, bulletin information, and meeting with individuals.

Pope Benedict XVI referred to priests who abused people as “filth,” and that is spot-on.

The ones who did so over and over, as bishops moved them about infuriates Catholics, including this deacon.

Anyone hurt by anyone in the Church should contact the police immediately, and the Church secondarily.

The bishops of our country need to close the Charter loophole that exists for bishops. I understand Cardinal DiNardo has such a plan, and has requested a meeting with Pope Francis to present it.

For all those hurt by the Church - I am truly sorry,
Deacon Christopher


We are Church. Our salvation and our sins have a communal aspect to them. If one member suffers, we all do. I’m exasperated by the commentary of “the Church needs to…” from members of —— THE CHURCH. The correct phrasing is “we need to…”, so this penance is justly ours.


It is safe right now for your children to be alone with a priest. The vast majority of priests, along with the vast majority of human beings, consider abuse of children to be abhorrent.

If you don’t believe that it is currently safe, but you believe that changes can happen to make it safe, what changes would those be?


Your post makes it even more clear that this is NOT a US problem, but a Church problem. The hierarchy has not only failed us and covered up for abusers, it also contributed to the problem and possibly made it worse. All the more reason for Pope Francis to follow his own advice and create zero tolerance and transparency at all levels. So far it seems it was all talk and in no way applies to the pope or anyone else in the Vatican.


Thank you Deacon Christopher. That is a very kind post.


I doubt that any priest at this point would think it was safe for himself to be alone with anyone’s children.

As I posted yesterday, I just heard a priest tell a story of how he had to round up two other adults just to ride along when he wanted to drive home an altar server who was stuck at the church because her ride had not shown up.


Thank you Deacon Jeff. I’ve been saying this on any number of related posts. That the “scandal” is news of old abuses of 30 to 70 years ago. The perps are mainly, DEAD!.

Since the Dallas conference of 2002 where the bishops put these measures into force, there have been virtually no incidences of this behavior in the past 15 years. (you cite 6) Six out of how many dioceses in the U.S.?


This post reminds me of that one flat-earth meme.


At least three seminaries are currently under investigation for the sexual activity taking place in them.

Let’s see…who selects these men for formation? Who appoints the rectors and formators? I dunno…could the bishops possibly have something to do with the problem? Or does the fact that this doesn’t involve minors make it all OK?


they need a secular trial. It’s not for the church. It’s for the state

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