It’s nice to see some perspective against this Pennsylvania report. I also question the motives behind the release and formation of the report.
Thanks for posting. It is good to separate the fact from the fiction and hear all sides.
Finally some proper reporting. Josh Shapiro seems to have a personal hatred of the Church. He seems to be anti Christian. The grand jury report was an obvious hit piece full of bias. I didn’t read but a few of the first pages and could see that. I did read one rebuttal. A priest mentioned in the document pointed out there was an obvious factual error in the report.
This report is entirely designed for public consumption. It isn’t a legal document. It is a tabloid. But people will believe anything that trashes the Church. Even if the various lies are refuted people will still have a suspicion because they heard about this in a ‘grand jury report’.
The full text of the response of the Diocese of Pittsburgh – that the dioceses of Pennsylvania were invited to prepare, but which haven’t been released by the Attorney General – has been posted on the diocese’s website. (Shapiro’s response, in one article I read this morning, is that Wuerl isn’t telling the truth.)
Reading through a lot of posts on this issue, I have little faith in the average man to sift facts from rhetoric. For this reason alone, twelve random people who can’t get out of jury duty hardly present the brain power to tackle such a topic. That is why grand juries should stick to issuing indictments, not making ignorant lay reports.
Add to this problem that state attorneys are elected officials, that is, politicians and attorneys, then there must at least be a consideration that they might have an agenda, bias, or that they out-right lie.
Bill Donahue wrote a similar article:
I’m glad people are reading rebuttal articles, but unfortunately I doubt that anyone other than Catholics trying to feel better about this situation will bother to read them.
i did not need to read them myself to understand what is going on because of my work background, and I find these articles to be just a touch overzealously persuasive towards the pro-Catholic side just like I found the report biased towards the anti-Catholic side. People should read both and thoughtfully consider.
This is a disturbing new twist. So there is a good chance that the report is full of lies (could be truth mixed with falsehood)? And no one except a couple of people on obscure websites have thought to question the truth of them?
While it is a relief to think that the report may not be all true, it is highly disturbing to think that someone would make up such evil lies, and even worse that everyone believes them without question. This whole thing is just stomach-churning.
Then I think we should spread these rebuttal articles around so that people do read them. (The Bill Donahue article was very readable and would be a good one to share.) Share them on social media if that’s your thing; share them with friends and with fellow parishioners. We cannot sit here idly while evil lies are spread about the Church. There is another side to this story and it needs to be heard.
I think there is truth and lies in it. It is just allegations. You can see from reading the report itself that the goal is to be a hit piece. The report demonstrates a bias and an intentional ignoring of evidence and information. The goal is to disparage the Catholic Church. The goal most definitely isn’t justice. It is a witch hunt.
People need to know that and be aware that there is another side to this. I follow a lot of Catholic media and have many Catholic friends, both on social media and in “real life,” and have been reading scores of responses to these new abuse revelations coming out of the Pennsylvania report; yet this is the very first time I have heard anyone question the veracity of the report. I am sure I can’t be alone in that.
It’s not so much the “veracity” of the report. If the report was factually wrong, it would be grounds for a suit. Although people should be aware that a grand jury report contains evidence that is not proven in court and, if subjected to a court process (which is never going to happen here for all but a couple of the cases), might be disproven or disallowed.
It’s the spin the prosecutor put on it.
Prosecutors are poliical animals and they spin everything that comes out of their office, just like the media spin things. In a litigation setting, so do all lawyers, it’s their job.
The rebuttal articles spin the opposite way.
True. But I think the vast majority of people are only hearing one spin and are just taking for granted that it’s all true and not realizing that there is another side to this. That’s what I find most upsetting.
While I am glad that there are people like Donahue that are pointing out that not every detail in the grand jury report can be taken at face value, I hesitate to push too hard on that point—at least at the present time. It can easily be misconstrued as trying to sweep problems under the rug and/or not being bothered by child abuse.
It does make me wonder what the results would show if they did a similar investigation of another entity—say the public school system or Boy Scouts—if you wouldn’t find a similar tale. But, of course, we don’t know since they haven’t done it. And speculating on it would very well come across as trying to deflect it.
What I’m really interested in knowing (and have yet to see pointed out) is exactly how many of the “300” are still alive and in active ministry.
I made an Excel spreadsheet for that very purpose a few days ago, using data I obtained off the six diocese websites which all published a list of names. My rough count (I did this in a hurry and each diocese broke down the info a little differently) is as follows. I further note that I use the word “priest” below but a couple of the dioceses included seminarians and/or deacons in with the priests, so “priest” for some dioceses may include those broader categories.
Accused priests who are currently dead: 199
Includes a number of priests who were not accused until after their deaths.
Accused priests who are currently alive, with no case pending: 118
These priests generally fell into one of three categories:
- Laicized or had their priestly faculties restricted (most of them)
- Already convicted and serving time (a few of them)
- Whereabouts unknown (a small number of priests who originally came from orders or foreign countries and were sent back to their order or foreign country when they were accused, so no further information is available on them from the Diocese)
In the case of the handful of accused seminarians, I would hope they were not ordained; also if they were ordained, one would think the Diocese would list them as “priest” and not “seminarian”.
Accused priests who are currently alive, and have a legal action pending: 9
I would again presume they are not active in ministry while they are in the middle of litigation.
Accused laypeople (not laicized clergy): 19
This includes teachers, coaches, lay staff etc.
Wow, thanks for that! Was there even one who was still in active ministry?
We have no way of knowing for sure because of the small “Whereabouts unknown” group. For all I know, somebody’s off being a priest overseas or down in South America or within his order.
Setting that group aside, one would have to look really carefully at the relatively small number not listed as dead, laicized, restricted or in prison to find out what their situation is. I didn’t have the time to pick through the information to that level of detail, which might also require comparing with the grand jury report or looking on bishop-accountability website. If there is one living who hasn’t been laicized or restricted by now, my guess is that he would probably be in a retirement home somewhere. You can bet if one of these guys in the report was running around at a parish being a normal priest, the local press would be all over it, and I haven’t been able to find a story of that so far.
That’s kind of what I figured.
They did find a few who were still in active ministry. The report talks about two in particular.