Sr. Maureen Paul Turlish
Many, probably most, Catholics in the five counties that make up the Philadelphia archdiocese believed Cardinal Justin Rigali in 2005 when he promised that things would change, that there would be no more cover-ups and that those who were raped, sodomized or sexually exploited by predatory priests and church workers would be treated humanely instead of being intimidated, harassed and bullied.
I was not one of them.
Since 2002 I have tried to do everything I could possibly think of doing to bring attention to what I perceive to be an entrenched pattern of deceit and dishonesty orchestrated by the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic church to protect its image, hold onto its power and authority, and keep known sexual predators in ministry while failing to even consider the welfare of untold numbers of children.
February’s release of a second grand jury report on the Philadelphia archdiocese shows just how futile it is to put one’s faith in church leadership.
Philadelphia’s hierarchy has failed the People of God. Cardinals Krol, Bevilacqua and Rigali have failed us and they have betrayed us.
I had been out of the loop, as it were, since Monday, March 22, when I left for Alabama to attend the 26th annual symposium on child abuse sponsored by the National Children's Advocacy Center headquartered in Huntsville. I made the mistake of not taking my laptop, thinking that I could check my e-mail on the hotel's computer. That did not work out.
Pope Benedict's repetition over and over again that the sexual abuse of a child is "a heinous crime" and "a grave sin which offends God and wounds the dignity of the human person created in his image," in country after country may, to use Bishop Diarmuid Martin's words, "even be empty."