Catholic Bishops Promising to Fix Sex Abuse Problem Face Cover-Up Accusations

Oct 19, 2018 · 201 comments
Keith Bee (Palo Alto)
talk about missing the forest for the trees - seeking solace in fairy tales while letting the world crumble around them.
Jeff P (Washington)
It is a complete mystery to me, perhaps a supernatural mystery (?), why people remain in the catholic church. It is rife with hypocrisy in many forms.
BTO (Somerset, MA)
Why would you stop with just the Bishops, wouldn't it make more sense to have very member of the catholic church in the USA step aside. Oh then you wouldn't have a church at all. Not all Bishops, Priests and Cardinals are to blame, yes they have a problem as do any and all organizations, keep an eye on them and see where it goes.
William Doolittle (Stroudsburg Pa)
Make all religions pay taxes. Why they don't is beyond me.
John Grillo (Edgewater, MD)
Perhaps, in a federal judicial district somewhere in the country, a United States Attorney will have the courage, principle, and moral outrage to indict the American Catholic Church itself for engaging, for years, in a criminal enterprise engaged in numerous sexual violations and conspiratorially covering up this felonious behavior.
Jude Parker Smith (Chicago, IL)
They should. They all know.
Di (California)
So instead of working to fix the problem, various factions in the church are using this as an excuse to settle political scores and run LGBT Catholics out of the church, equating homosexuality with pedophilia. Meanwhile the straight priests who abuse women get a pass.
rpasea (Seattle)
“This was systemic evil in the church.” Why do the authorities permit an organization that has institutionalized the sexual abuse of children to continue operating? The RC church is a criminal organization and should be shut down.
RohiniA (Pennington, NJ)
The Catholic church should be dismantled, along with any religious institution, of any faith, that has egregiously harmed even a single human life. Their sins are profoundly world altering, from sexual abuse of adults and children to the malicious practice and spread of religious bigotry. Those who look the other way are complicit in their silence. They have failed to protect their most vulnerable charges. Who then, are all these people who decree that the faithful need an agent to connect with their God? Why have the faithful been blinded into accepting that they cannot seek peace via religion on their own? Faith need not be a foreign language. You should not need an interpreter to teach you how to find peace by simply being a good human being. Cut out the middle-man. Now.
Nancy (Chicago)
Priests should be allowed to marry. Women should be allowed to become priests. Suspected child molesters must be reported immediately to law enforcement. If the leadership of the Church doesn't like change, they are going to like extinction even less.
WPLMMT (New York City)
Those of us who are dedicated Catholics and in the pews every Sunday will not abandon our faith. I have not seen a reduction in Mass attendance since the revelations of sexual abuse within the Church have been revealed. Quite frankly, it seems to have increased in the number who are participating. We want this very serious problem to be investigated and resolved once and for all. We want any priest no matter his rank who was in any way involved with this abuse to be held accountable. The priests or anyone else who have participated in any kind of abuse must be immediately dismissed and turned over to the authorities. No second chances. It must be stated that the majority of clergy and those in religious life are excellent and wonderful people who take their religious vows very seriously. They would not for one second lay a hand on any person and are as angry as lay people over this abuse. They have dedicated their lives to the faith and have done tremendous good within the Church. They help those less fortunate and needy no matter their religion. They are there when you need assistance and never turn anyone away. I say this as a cradle Catholic who adores my religion. I cannot say this strongly enough. It is a wonderful faith of 1.3 billion members and has been in existence for over 2000 years. It will never become extinct because the dedicated Catholics would not stand for it. We have strength in numbers. We are here to stay.
Huxan (Santa Cruz)
Why is this not a criminal issue? Why do we continue to let this organized crime family police itself? This is not only a failure of the church, it’s a failure of our criminal justice system.
Marie (Omaha)
It's a simple fact that the Roman Catholic Church has no moral authority. A religious institution that's become so corrupt at its core that it's not just protecting and promoting men who harm children, but somehow breeding them is "religious" in name only. The Church exists today for one reason only: to amass power and money. In the wake of the sex abuse scandal in America the Church did nothing to actually examine itself. Instead it instituted "safe" training for staff and volunteers to help us identify predators. (I was a parent volunteer at the time). Then it did what all institutions do that want to drive attention elsewhere: it found another boogeyman. American nuns, it seems, were violating the paternalistic bonds of Church tradition and needed to be reigned in! Feminism was seen as a greater sin than pederasty! Lest one forget, years were spent re-writing Church liturgy. Spring a new Mass on congregants and maybe they'll forget they've been assaulted while they're learning what the word consubstantial means. Even ten years ago we thought this scandal was big but we really had no idea. At this point I'd say American bishops don't just need to resign. The entire Church just needs to shut up and stop telling people how to live their lives. Until it gets its own house in order...
Dave (Tacoma, WA)
They’re all aware. They’re all involved, one way or another. They all should resign.
M.R. Sullivan (Boston)
These are the bishops’ files. They knew of the abuse for decades, hid the abuse, and in some cases enabled the perpetrators to rape again. Their supposed action and contrition now is only because the American justice system has exposed some of their criminal acts. If the bishops were sorry they would have acted with justice and pastoral care when they first learned of the abuse. But these are corporate men who care more about the reputation and power of their “brother bishops” than the broken bodies and souls of children.
ken G (bartlesville)
This abuse should be handled by civil authorities. Forget about respecting the church - they have none. The church long ago proved they just wanted a coverup. Many should be in prison.
Babs (Northeast)
If anyone from any diocese is reading this, please know that more and more of us are finding it impossible to stay within the church. Local parishes have few options since upper management is so centralized. The window of opportunity is quickly closing. The longer that you fail to incorporate lay people, especially women, in the decision making process, the more people will leave. The crisis is spreading way beyond sex abuse by some of the clergy. Please act!!! An Irish almost ex-Catholic
Thomas (Branford, Florida)
If Church attending Catholics want the Church to change, to heed the flock, stop giving them money. Nothing will have a greater impact. Once the inflow of cash dwindles, the bishops will pay attention. I stopped putting cash in the collection a few months ago after I read that the Church in the U.S. has shelled out $3 Billion in sex abuse settlements.
Tom (Oxford)
Although it sounds draconian to remove all the bishops, they have only themselves to blame. This is where the problem resides. The coverups and moving of offending priests from diocese to diocese was done with the knowing the crime and guilt. Pedophilia and sexual abuse occur in all institutions. We have to only look at our current president to know that. Aggressive policing must be the response anywhere you find it. Systemic abuse is the thing we are dealing with here. There has been a noticeable lack of vigor by the hierarchy of the church. At times, the bishops have actually been complicit to the crimes committed. They are not doing one of the jobs they should be doing - upholding a moral as well as civic standard. Remove the bishops. Incarcerate the offending priests. Get rid of this cancer.
Pecan (Empowerment Self-Defense)
Two things: 1) A book by renowned sociologists of religion: Sex, Priests, and Secret Codes: The Catholic Church's 2,000 Year Paper Trail of Sexual Abuse, by A.W.Richard Sipe, Patrick J. Wall, Thomas P. Doyle. 2) A lot of people knew all along what was going on with clergy and hierarchy but refused to do what they could to stop it for various reasons: reluctance to bring "scandal" to the Church; giving credence to anti-Catholic notions; etc. Cops knew, but so many cops were Catholic, etc. One horrible example of a cover-up: Dec. 1 will be the 60th anniversary of the fire at Our Lady of the Angels School in Chicago in which 92 children and 3 nuns died. A fire trap that had been cited many times for danger, including fire alarms too high to reach and not connected to fire houses, etc. But the pastor refused to do anything, and the fire dept. grandfathered in the old lack of smoke detectors, etc. A couple of years after the horrible event, the child who had started the fire was identified, but the judge didn't want the bad news out about a Catholic school, so he quashed the results of the polygraph test and confession. He didn't want to offend Archbishop Meyer or the other big shots. (The cops, arson investigators, etc. knew all along that it was arson.) Unbearable to read about it. What the firemen saw, what the children suffered, all the lies, all the idiocy.
Nicholas (California)
How can a Catholic have allegiance to a church sacrament that allows criminals to escape? The sacrament of confession is a wall that is protecting these offenders. If we cleaned house today, the church would be without any leaders. So, empires fall. Everything has a beginning and end. This is the time to remove the MEN of the cloth and turn it over to the Mother Theresa' of the church. The MEN have failed. The women are ignored. The solution is this simple. Women priests and deacons period. The Pope is not infallible. The rules have to be changed to save this failing church. Or you can become an atheist!
john (cincinnati)
@Nicholas. Please remember that many nuns were bad people too.
Edward Blau (WI)
It has little to do with the rule of celibacy but it is a consequence of impressing very immature young men into the seminaries when they are half formed. Then it is compounded by a hierarchy similarly formed who see little value in children of both sexes compared to preserving the spiritual and temporal power of the church. The laity can protest all they want. The church is impervious to their pleas for they know few will leave for they are so dependent on the ritual and the false promise of eternal life after death. Nothing will change.
Linda Goldman (California)
Why is a patriarchal hierarchy needed in order to follow the teachings of Jesus? Why do people pay dues to the Church when so much of the money goes to support the opulent lifestyles of the bishops and to maintain the Vatican? It all seems so far removed from what Jesus would want.
WPLMMT (New York City)
Linda Goldman, Catholics do not pay dues to the Church. We put into the collection box any amount we wish. No one is ever denied admission to the Church because of the amount they give. The Jewish faith and some Protestant denominations must pledge money in order to be members of their congregations. The Catholic Church has never insisted that a churchgoer pledge money in order to be a parishioner of any Church. I know this to be fact as I have been a parishioner of a few Churches in Manhattan and they have welcomed me no matter how much I give. I needed to clear up this misinformation.
Marian (Kansas)
Dear Father DiNardo, You owe the world's Catholics a letter explaining what being Christian means to you. Including how any form of abuse is being Christian; how leaving children unprotected is Christian; how protecting priests who are abusers instead of the parishioners -- how is that Christian? I don't care about celibacy. I don't care about gay priests or history or any other justification for this despicable evil that has had free reign in what you call "the one true church". Millions of the world's population are not Catholic and are not even Christian. And they are better Christians than you and your colleagues.
Stephanie Wood (Montclair NJ)
What offends me most of all is how much of our tax money props up corrupt institutions - Wall Street, banks, the Church, Washington, the whole corporate feudal order. Time to topple the whole thing.
WorldPeace2017 (US Expat in SE Asia)
As a Non-Catholic, I feel that I can say nothing about how the members run their church. As a person who believes that we must have all organizations adhere to good "Rules of Law", I do not feel that the Catholic Church or its leaders should be offered any exceptional treatment. That was the practice for so many years (Too many years!) and we see where it has gotten us. It is now time for the laws of the land to be equally applied to all people who live in the land, no exceptions for clergy.
Jay (Sacramento)
I note that people are ready to believe these men & women coming forward decades later. Most agree the priests should be punished. Why is it then so hard to believe women’s claims of abuse by secular molesters? How is the evidence different?
Donna Brodie (New York City)
I have decided to leave the Roman Catholic Church, which I was born into, because of the base hypocrisy and perpetuation of sex crimes and their coverups. I want no part of the excuses and can make no more excuses. When I recall how harsh the clergy was with the issue of divorce (grounds for excommunication) when I was a child and the stigma attached to children of divorce, I feel anger now as never before. How do you with any decency protect adult male child molesters but shame families for re-configuring their private lives? Everyone of these bishops and cardinals should and must step down in the name of decency and the man they profess to honor and follow.
Di (California)
@Donna Brodie The sad thing is that canon law does not actually call for excommunication for divorce per se. Totally and utterly mistaken at best, pulled out of Fr. Whosit’s ear at worst.
Sam (VA)
The difficulty with the suggestion that the Bishops offer their resignations to the Pope is that he too has been lax and equivocal in his handling of the problem. His letter extolling Cardinal Wuerl is a prime example. Ironically, the question of how Catholics can deal with the incongruities short of leaving is answerable perhaps only by faith.
Tom (San Diego)
Probably the right thing to do. The so-called church is no more than a political party in robes that needs a thorough cleaning from top to bottom. Men of God, not so much.
Joseph Louis (Montreal)
This is finally happening : the Catholic church being investigated from top to bottom by the American authorities. Who else but the American tribunals can get this job done? They are probably the only ones in the world strong enough, capable and willing to get this job done once and for all. No other country has the means to undertake such inquiery with tax-payers money. The scope of this trial is going to be huge and the American tribunals, through various DAs, are going to finally get to the bottom of this disgusting abuse that took place evrywhere the Catholic church has set foot. Everybody within this organization should quit the Roman sect because it has left behind itself an unbarable amount of blood, pain and sorrow. May the abusers meet their judgment at the hand of this country until they meet final judgment.
pinkypink (Chicago)
The root of the problem needs to be addressed. Why is this particular institution a virtual breeding ground for sexual abuse? The root may be the leaders don't read, believe in or adhere to the teachings in the bible, specifically where Christ says “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea." And for the record, it's in three of the gospels (those of Matthew, Mark and Luke) just so you don't miss it.
Jamila Kisses (Beaverton, OR)
@pinkypink The root of the problem? Easy. Put the perps in prison and then psychologists can study them to their heart's content.
John (Chelsea, MI )
I’m not sure that all 100% of bishops are directly culpable, but by now it seems possible those who are not may actually be a minority. Obviously the Church has yet to take the bold action required to cleanse itself including seeing that the offenders are prosecuted wherever possible. Amends must be made to the victims. Turning over the entire episcopate may be the best way to regain credibility, but it will be difficult to accomplish, from a practical standpoint. Without bishops there can be no new priests, for example, at least until those positions are re-filled. Another possibility is to offer the option to all bishops and priests of sitting for a polygraph administered by an independent body, or tender their resignations forthwith. The “seal” of the confessional is bound to be involved in some incidences but there could be work-arounds where appropriate information is shared. And they should start with the guy at the top. The Church has been bleeding over this issue for a couple of decades without noticeable improvement. It will bleed itself nearly to death if stronger measures are not taken, and soon.
Pecan (Empowerment Self-Defense)
@John "Another possibility is to offer the option to all bishops and priests of sitting for a polygraph administered by an independent body, or tender their resignations forthwith." YES. So few would be willing to do that, that the problem would be solved. Answering questions about the teachings that they pretend to believe would be the end of the clergy and hierarchy.
Tuvw Xyz (Evanston, Illinois)
The roots of the sex-abuse problem is the required vow of celibacy of the priests. Given the Pope's infallibility, he can change this rule, probably without causing a swelling of the ranks of the Sedevacantists and lapsed Roman Catholics. Next, he must turn his attention to the discrimination of women in the Church hierarchy. To rectify that, he should enlarge the Trinity to Quadrinity by inclusion of Mary in the latter.
HoboYoda (CT)
@Tuvw Xyz I'm sorry to disagree with your strawman argument. The vow of celibacy is NOT at the root of pedophilia and neither is homosexuality, no matter how much those grappling with this issue of deviant psychology and anti social behavior wish to ascribe it terms which only normalizes for their understanding. We of normal brain function cannot fully grasp this dysfunction only that it is a danger to society, especially to our children whose protection is our duty, and must be dealt with all abilities of criminal law and justice
FritzTOF (ny)
The story behind this scandal extends back to the early centuries of Christianity, and the Catholic clergy is terrified of facing the imperfect history of their infallible "church." If they don't face their crimes head on, the church triumphant may be defeated in the process. If they don't face that history, their narrative will fade away within a generation.
Margaret (Minnesota)
Corruption, pure and simple. Pull their tax exempt status, investigate and put the offenders on trial. Poorest example of moral guardians one can find yet they feel they can dictate sexual behavior to people AND influence the Government on their behalf.
dutchiris (Berkeley, CA)
This horrible rot may start at the bottom but it climbs all the way to the top, permeating the whole institution. What about those bishops and cardinals who came up through the church? It's hard to believe that none of them were guilty of these crimes as well. What a nightmare this must have been for all the children and young people victimized by a protected system of perversion, and what pain must all of this still be causing them, as well as the people who trusted the church to teach their children to be good Catholics—honest, responsible, devoted to the teachings of Christ. How many people will ever be willing to trust the church again? If this purge is well and truly carried out, how many of the clergy will be left?
Alice sheehan (Colorado)
As a cradle Catholic and one of the dwindling number of practicing Catholics in my generation this has led to a crisis of religion for me. I just keep asking, “Where are all of the women voices in these tribunals?” If women were allowed to be leaders in the Catholic Church this would not continue to persist.
my2sons (COLUMBIA)
This is the Church's Holy Watergate Scandal. Who will go to jail, lose their elected position, and be removed?
MJG (Boston)
One has to keep in ind that priests, bishops, and higher ups have lifetime jobs, free room and board, maid service, and other benefits. Most could not function if thrown into the real world. Consequently, they have every incentive to cover up for each other. Only when they are charged with obstruction from justice and go to jail will we see a change. Throw in RICO. By the pope's own admissions he should be serving multiple life sentences.
Pecan (Empowerment Self-Defense)
@MJG Agree. Without jobs, training, experience, or much of an education, they are incapable of making their own way in the world. The seminaries were/are a haven for the lazy, the unintelligent, the failures, the odd, the foreign, etc. Sociologists of religion like Katarina Schuth et al. have done extensive research into the types of men that are the clergy and seminarians of today.
Cold Eyei (Kenwood CA)
The John Jay report (2002) into abuse by Catholic priests concluded that the prevalence of child molestation by RC priests were about the same as the population in general - about 2%. The U.S. Dept of Education commissioned a study of sexual abuse of children in pubic schools (2004) and found a prevalence of roughly 6%. Also, the Chicago public school system was fined $150 million for passing on teachers with histories of sexual abuse All of this gives credence to the proposition that anti-Catholicism is the last socially acceptable bigotry in the U.S. Perhaps it’s time now to study the comparative rates of exploitation since 2002.
John (Chelsea, MI )
The difference being the princelings of the Church enjoy a a stature with victims which is more exalted than other abusers, and which aided them in their procurement. We have two vectors here, the underlying crimes and, wait for it: the cover-up. Perhaps new cases are virtually non-existent, these days. I hope so. Somehow I doubt it. But leaving that aside, the Church has been self-protective while never fully coming to terms with victims. Amends still need to be made with many. Finally, the concealment of crimes and abetting the criminals in avoiding detection until years after the fact is beneath contempt. One can only hope that after an authentic purging, assisted by outside law enforcement as necessary, will be followed by a renewal.
Jerry and Peter (Crete, Greece)
I understand that the late Richard Sipes's research, as quoted in the movie 'Searchlight', concluded that the correct figure was 6%, and that the investigation by the Boston Globe found that that was certainly the case of priests the greater Boston area. Check it out. And worth noting: in public schools, and even some private ones, molesters are prosecuted and jailed. In the RCC they're protected and promoted. And what fines have been levied against the RCC? p.
Pecan (Empowerment Self-Defense)
@Cold Eyei The John Jay study was/is worthless, since it was the bishops who decided which data to hand over to the researchers. (Like the FBI investigation of Kavanaugh after the testimony by Christine Blasey Ford. Trump prevented them from talking to the people who had information, including the victim and her assailants.)
Just Live Well (Philadelphia, PA)
Just leave the church. This outmoded patriarchy was creepy enough for me to find it distasteful when I was five years old. In a few years, the rest of it didn't make sense either. Find a more inclusive, progressive, forgiving religion, find God on your own, or become an atheist. It's time to move forward and bury these relics for good.
AE (France)
@Just Live Well Indeed. The United States government only established formal diplomatic relations with the Vatican during Reagan's rule in 1984, out of cynical geopolitical considerations during the waning days of the cold war. As Stalin quipped, 'how many divisions does the pope poessess?' The Catholic Church has vastly outlived its place amongst civilised and law-abiding citizens, nothing but a cult of self-mortification and blind hatred of life.
D.j.j.k. (south Delaware)
The Attorney General in America needs to close the Catholic Church. It abuses children and women. Doesn't pay its fair share of yearly taxes and failed miserably in supporting a safe worshipping environment. When they start over every priest and official needs to be screened by a background check and women need to be priests. To keep an eye in every American parish for the men priests. I would not trust another priest ever after all this cover up even if they started new. Very sad.
Jan (Milwaukee)
Timothy Dolan did lots of money hiding when he was in Milwaukee. His role in the deception during the investigations was criminal.
John Doe (Johnstown)
When a man is forced into an unnatural state of existence in order to keep his job, some would consider that a form of abuse. The issue is not with Bishops it’s with the whole nature of the Church. This whole sordid affair is entirely about abuse on every level at the hands of an entire organization whose role it was not to play God, yet chose to anyway.
Njnelson (Lakewood CO)
Toss them all...had a great awakening in sixth grade owing to a very open and intelligent nun. Remove all bishops from office and install a civilian review board for certification of bishops. Then, let those who wish apply for reinstatement. I suspect that less than 100% will be reinstated.
Jon (Austin)
Well, rest assured. The DOJ, under the supervision of Jeff Sessions (for now), is looking into this. I'm sure he'll get to the bottom of this. Sessions is an evangelical Christian, who goes out of his way to defer to whatever Christians want to do to whoever Christians want to do anything to. Sessions will also have the help of his religious-liberty buddy, Sam Brownback, who is a Catholic. So, I'm sure they'll get to the bottom of this and find that the Catholic Church has been the victim of some liberal conspiracy to infringe on the rights of Christians to freely exercise their religious beliefs ANYWAY THEY WANT TO.
svetik (somewhere, NY)
I would like all oppressors in irrational patriarchal power structures to offer resignations. Then maybe we can have a society based on reason rather than totally nonsensical dogma that has no place in the modern world. :)
Richard Marcley (albany)
@svetik: If you think that's true, I guess you haven't been listening to Marcia Blackburn who is running for the Senate from TN as a trump ally!
Lisa (New Jersey )
Too little, too late. I'm done with them.
farhorizons (philadelphia)
How many times does it need to be said to Catholics: Stop putting your dimes and your dollars into the collection plates and envelopes. This is the one language the Church understands: financial support or lack thereof. Only if members stop supporting the Church as it is, will the Church realliy reform.
kms (central california)
Just flip the rule. Only women can be ordained. Only women can hold positions of authority. Only women can hear confessions, say Mass, consecrate the Host, preach homilies (a man could be allowed to preach with specific permission from his pastor). Men could still be monastics, and could always serve in subordinate roles as secretaries, aides, teachers, nurses, etc. Fixed it!
J O'Brien (Indiana)
So, I hope that the local and national news media is prepared to storm the barricades, as it were, when the bishops meet together in Baltimore, MD from Sunday, November 11 to Thursday, November 15, at the Baltimore Marriott Hotel located along the Inner Harbor in downtown Baltimore. Media coverage is authorized by the USCCB (the bishops conference) communications office out of Washington, D.C. and all sessions are closed to the public. Representatives of Voices of the Faithful and others should make themselves known and seek accountability on a TV screen for all Americans to see. Bishops of every dioceses will be on hand: auxiliaries, diocesan bishops, archbishops, cardinals. The full extent of clerical dysfunction and mismanagement of the American church will be on full display.
bill d (nj)
While I understand where the people calling for the Bishops to resign (and how unlikely that is, many of these Bishops were appointed by JPII and Benedict, and have the Dieu et mon droit attitude JPII had about the church and its hierarchy, that they could do no wrong and were designated by God for total power), I think they are missing something important. The problem is, whoever is appointed in their place is just as likely to commit abuses like this, because the real problem is the lack of accountability in the church. It isn't just the Pope, there is a venal hierarchy running the Vatican who are sort of like an eclesiastical equivalent of the DMV and like a clerk at the DMV, they aren't going to abrogate their own power. Any Bishop likely to be appointed is going to be someone the hierarchy knows is the same as them, and they also will make sure any rules are basically ignored. The real solution to the problem is that the Bishops become accountable to the people in their diocese and people in the church have real say. So a priest cannot be appointed to a diocese unless the lay leaders vet the person and approve, and if a Bishop is found to be lacking, the people should have the right to appeal to get them removed. It isn't going to happen, the church of today is full of the neo medievalists of the JPII/Benedict mold, and they are too entrenched, and Catholics too accepting of this, for it to change.
AE (France)
It would not bother me in the slightest for Trump's next Great Distraction to consist of stripping American Roman Catholic clergy of their citizenship before deporting them to Vatican City, a sovereign state where their employer is based. Pretentious and hypocritical social parasites who have been terrorizing generations of American Catholics with endless threats of eternal damnation for 'sins' which are of no consequence compared to the multiple crimes these men of the 'cloth' have been perpetuating. Sorry Señor Bergoglio-- 2+2 will never make 5, no matter how much you aren your ilk try to hoodwink the masses with your lies and sophistry.
New reader (New York)
As someone whose relative was abused by Catholic clergy, I unfortunately, do not think this is a problem of the bishops alone. Many, many parish priests on the ground knew and did nothing. Nothing. Both of my parents are gone, and I'm glad they're not alive to see this ever-evolving tragic story of child sexual abuse.
Stephen Whisler (Napa, CA)
Catholicism and the Catholic Church just about ruined my childhood. The priests and leaders of the church are liars and criminals. They should not be allowed near children! I don’t care what excuses they come up with, they all need to be tried in court and put in prison. Also, they should pay taxes! By the way, Kavanaugh is catholic, and he probably learned how to be a predator in church.
ES (Queens, NY)
The Catholic Church has been promising to fix this horror show for decades and they're still spinning wheels. This sect has so many problems to fix. I was brought up Episcopalian and we welcome all and at all times. In contrast, I went to the funeral of a Catholic friend's husband and at the beginning of the communion service made a point of saying only Catholics were permitted to receive. Only a Catholic God? On my maternal side, the family is Catholic. When my mother died I went to the Catholic Church to arrange for a funeral mass and was denied because my mother wasn't a church member. I can't count the number of funeral services the Episcopal Church has had for strangers...because they asked. I remember high school friends fainting in terror before going to confession. My maternal grandfather held a life-long rage against the Catholic Church because his mother, a extremely devout church goer, was made to pay back the funeral expense of her husband by cleaning the church (this was during Depression and the family had lost all their money.) Religion is can be a salve but also a travesty against humankind.
Ihaveanotheropinion (Mendon)
Not waiting for the Church to have the clergy resign. I resigned from the Church several years ago. Wrote to the Bishop and to the parish priest and excommunicated myself.
Mike McD (NYC Area)
If you've been to a Catholic mass lately, you'll note the advanced average age of the congregation. Older Americans stay loyal to the Catholic Church largely, in my view, only out of habit and tradition. Younger Americans largely eschew organized religion of any kind and they will be particularly loath to be drawn to an organization such as the Catholic Church which preaches the application of strong moral principles for its members but which has been at a total loss, for decades, in trying to apply those same moral standards to itself. The American Catholic Church is at risk of withering and becoming irrelevant because it steadfastly refuses to practice what it preaches and Americans are no longer willing to blindly follow along.
Grunchy (Alberta)
The Catholic church has amassed an immense treasure trove of wealth so it's not likely to die out any time soon.
WPLMMT (New York City)
Mike McD, I attend the 5:30 evening Mass at a well known upper east side church every Sunday and there are a lot of young adults on a regular basis. You see singles, young couples and those with young children. They are not staying away as they feel religion plays an important role in their lives. This is a relatively affluent Catholic Church and I see more young people than those gray haired individuals. They are very active and take their faith seriously. It is so nice to see them embrace their Catholic religion and it gives one hope.
Mr.Louche (KCMO)
@Mike McD Agree,but the "peccadilloes" of white and black evangelical leaders of charismatic mega-churches is not dissimilar. They have only had 50 years to hide their crimes against children and women. The Catholic Church had years ,centuries more time to whitewash their crimes ,and touched the lives of millions of children and young adults. My main desire is to see all religious groups in the US lose their tax exemptions if they involve themselves in any form of political active-ism: abortion,gay marriage, immigration,and the other thermonuclear issues of our times. I agree though that the Catholic Church is the largest untaxed land owner in the US. Strip all religions of their tax free status in the US-let their congregations make up the shortfall.
Tom (Pittsburgh)
Where are the nuns in all of this? I am sure numerous people complained to the nuns about the sexual abuse, and the nuns did not contact the police, but let it slide because the bishop would handle it. I am sure they heard rumors, but never pursued it.
Pecan (Empowerment Self-Defense)
@Tom The nuns in some ways enabled it. Boys were excused from class to accompany a priest (alone in the priest's car) to burials and wedding breakfasts. Etc.
Casey Jonesed (Charlotte, NC)
@Tom that's right blame the women who are not in charge.
Billy Baynew (.)
The prime directive of any organization is to ensure the survival of the organization. Each one of the RCC leaders reached his position knowing full well that the organization was full of sexually abusive priests and others managing the cover ups. None of this is new, it has been baked into the organization for over a thousand years and has been, or should have been, known by anyone paying the least bit of attention. If the leaders of the church hierarchy were to make an honest effort to rip out the rot, root and branch, they would end up removing a significant portion of the priestly and administrative staff and, if they were honest, likely have to offer themselves up for jail. As this goes against the prime directive, don't get your hopes up for any meaningful reform.
matty (boston ma)
"It seems highly unlikely that a sexually well-adjusted man would commit to a life without sex. Men who have deep sexual conflicts, who are ashamed or sickened by their sexual desires may think a life of abstinence and punishing devotion to God is a way to deal with their sexual dysfunctions." Indeed, especially in an institution that condones persecution of these individuals as dogma, persecution and dogma that created these dysfunctions in the first place, it's strange that some people feel draw in like it's their only refuge. But the ranks of the priesthood have been FILLED with these dysfunctional, repressed, sexually self-loathing people for centuries.
Cold Eyei (Kenwood CA)
In your description of these people you neglected to mention “mainly homosexual” or did you assume that was covered by the category of “dysfunctional”?
JM (San Francisco, CA)
Who needs bishops? What do they do? Supervise the priests? They obviously have failed and should resign. End of story.
Tournachonadar (Illiana)
Fifty years ago moviegoers were horrified at "Rosemary's Baby" and wondered if Satan had indeed been incarnated in New York. Today we know the answer. He was actually spawned into the person of countless Catholic priests...
Paulie (Earth)
I've been hearing how the Catholic Church is going to clean up their act for decades and all that happens is more revelations of sex abuse. When are they actually going to do something?
AE (France)
@Paulie I am just as disgusted with the French government's indulgence towards these criminal clericals as you are in America. What is wrong with secular politicians' irrational fear and deference towards a haven of superstition and hypocrisy?
New reader (New York)
@Paulie You're absolutely right.
zumaman (Mountain View, CA)
I simply cannot understand how anyone remians a member of the Catholic Church, the Republican Party, or Facebook.
lori (new jersey)
Me, I want all of them to go. The hierarchy continue to be complicit to protect themselves and all their clerical perks. The bishops and cardinals have no credibility and their prayers are empty gestures. I can't wait to see all the grand jury findings from the states brave enough to confront the corruption. . DAs don't be afraid to pursue this A lifelong Roman Catholic, no more.
AJ (California)
The bishops, archbishops, cardinals, and the pope all need to go. A clean sweep.
Mr.Louche (KCMO)
@AJ Sounds far fetched but on in December 25, 1991, Russia rid themselves of the Communist Party,stripping away its assets and control of civil society.
Scott (Henderson, Nevada)
“Complicity”: the state of being involved with others in an illegal activity or wrongdoing. If Parishioners are rightfully angry that Church leadership failed to take action to prevent clerical sexual abuse, aren’t they also obligated to consider their own culpability in continuing to support what appears to the most massive criminal enterprise in history?
Edward G (CA)
Is it even possible for the Catholic Church to recover from this horror show? The leadership of the Church seems incapable of grasping not only the scope of this issue, but also the magnitude of the impact this issue continues cause in terms of respect for the institution. This impact will be multigenerational and lasting.
Greg McCartan (Oslo, Norway)
Understand the anger of the many victims. Wouldn't it be more realistic for all Catholics to resign and leave the clergy without anyone to molest? My whole family has:)!!
dpaqcluck (Cerritos, CA)
Molestation by priests has been, is and forever will be a disgusting problem. Any fix will have to come from civil authorities. If the American Bishops, the very guys responsible for the problem, think they can sit down in Baltimore to address the problem they are delusional. Foxes protecting the hen-house. Catholics who continue to contribute to the Church with some naive belief that the problem will be repaired are similarly delusional. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. The Church is in absolutely no position to deal with the molestation problem. Take away their money and force them to resign. No contributions at all until they are gone! I was raised a Catholic and have not practiced my religion in any church primarily because of this sort of hypocrisy that pervades the Church leaders. Like the US in politics, it is a Church with laws and morality, but the morality doesn't apply to the leaders.
Grunchy (Alberta)
In my personal opinion, the church should be forced to pay civil penalties to victims until its money is gone, and then the church should also forfeit its tax-exempt status since it is more a criminal organization than an ecclesiastical one. But this is just my own personal opinion, I don't have $billions to fuel a defense fund. On the flip side, I do enjoy my atheistic lifestyle: no rape, no confessions, no worship, just bike rides & fun each and every church day. I do cast a thought toward the imprisoned in the churches, but by golly, they are legally required to keep the exit doors unlocked. Walk away with head held high, and if you're at all worried, God will still look after you (somehow or other; He'll think of a way).
Resignations!?!?! What, jail is not good enough for them????
purpledog (Washington, DC)
The problem will not be solved by firing individuals, or even by firing every Bishop in the U.S., or even by firing every Bishop in the world, including the Bishop of Rome. The problem *is that there are all-powerful Bishops at all*. Clericalism is a disease, and the only cure is for lay people to at least partly administer the Church. I'd even go as far as saying that the actual leader of the Church should be elected from the laity for a ten-year term. Call him or her the "Prime Minister" lol. The Pope et al. can remain for administering the sacraments, but ultimately, they should answer to a lay, elected body politic with transparency as its top goal.
robert mostello (somerville, nj)
@purpledog An official priesthood and a hierarchy were concocted after Jesus. Jesus did not intend that his following would be led by a professional class. It was built up and foisted on Christians over the centuries. The whole thing is a sham that Catholics like me were bamboozled by. Luther had it right, 500 years ago.
Realist (Ohio)
@purpledog Exactly. The clergy can and should have a sacramental and homiletic role. That, and not political and economic power, is the proper apostolic succession. The administration must be based in the people (and get rid of the term and concept of “the laity”). The church may still have a bit of time to adopt this model voluntarily, or it can wait until it arises spontaneously from the ashes of today’s church.
Pecan (Empowerment Self-Defense)
@robert mostello Right. Dispensing sacraments was not part of the early Jesus movement. No extreme unction, no matrimony, no holy orders, no confirmation, no penance. Only baptism and sharing bread and wine.
david (la, ca)
The worst crimes imaginable have been shielded and protected for decades, more likely centuries, and all in the name of G-d. Can anyone conceive of anything more sickening? Who cares about the good eggs in this abhorrent institution? The whole thing needs to be dismantled. It will be difficult - they have many blind followers and their own country - but hopefully this becomes conventional wisdom.
brian (boston)
Posters calling for the end of Catholicism, or questioning the sanity of those who remain Catholic, in spite of it all, preceded the scandal and will out live it.
Andrew (Bronx)
Resign???? They should be in jail!!!!!!
Michael Garrisonc (San Diego)
The offense is child rape and the scene of the crime is every diocese scrutinized. Lack of transparency is not the problem, crime is the problem, celibacy is the problem and the hierarchy of the RCC is the problem. A big broom sweeps clean.
bernard oliver (Baltimore md)
Thanks to the Times for keeping this story in the forefront. My dear Cardinal DiNardo these are not only "sins", but also crimes which must be investigated .You and your colleagues should be tried and prosecuted if found negligent or guilty. These alleged "sins" are no different from the crimes committed by Harvey Weinstein or Bill Cosby. They are in fact worse because they were perpetrated on the most vulnerable , our children.
Tony Huck (Eugene OR)
I grew up Catholic. 70 years. Finally a few years ago, I "left" the Catholic faith; just stopped attending Mass, giving donations to the parish, etc. As a gay man I had had enough of the hypocrisy. And I can finally breathe a sigh of relief, while still holding dear to me a belief in a loving God. So, yes, the bishops, all of them, should resign. Immediately. Their idea of a "Catholic church" is most definitely not what Jesus had in mind.
Cold Eye (Kenwood CA)
According to studies by the U.S, Dept of Education, The rate of child sexual abuse in public schools far exceeds the rate in Catholic schools. Why not report on that?
Eldon (St. Pete., Fl)
@Cold Eye: this is not a “but what about....” This is about the criminality of the Catholic Church.
purpledog (Washington, DC)
@Cold Eye please cite your claim.
matty (boston ma)
@Cold Eye Because you're citing a lie. If it;s not a lie, or misinformation then cite some of those mysterious "studies."
AJWoods (New Jersey)
The whole 'review' thing is a farce. Nothing will change. The Vatican will not change or reform itself. It was surprising to hear that the Cardinal in New York got to pick the judge who will review possible abuse in New York City. Catholics should leave the clergy behind and form their own local groups for their religious needs and counseling. It is different today, most people are well educated, unlike in the past. There is not a need for clerical "experts'.
CC (Western NY)
It’s like a cleansing fire sale...everything must go!
Ivymama (Ardmore Pa)
The Catholic Church needs to stop trying to keep the statues of limitation from being lifted in states like Pennsylvania , where there is hard evidence of sexual abuse . How dare Bishop Chaput ask his priests to ask from their pulpits , for the Catholics to call our state representatives and demand the statues be kept in place ? How in the world can the CC be taken seriously ? I would rather have a poor church , small in numbers but clean of all these filth . I believe alll bishops ,cardinals and the Pope himself should resign .if the only way for that to happen is for the justice department to get involved , be it .
John (Iowa)
At one time in our church the people elected their bishops including the Bishop of Rome. The original meaning of the word bishop meant an overseer. We need all new overseers and at least 50 percent of them should be women. There is no need for a manager to be an ordained priest!
Margot (U.S.A.)
It ought gall everyone in America that Vatican Inc. operates tax free in the U.S. In many municipal locales, the archbishop of the archdiocese lives in a mansion and presides over $tens of millions in real estate holdings, as well as numerous business commercial ventures.
Yuki (Hamilton)
Why haven't these people been kicked out of the priesthood and sent to prison? I honestly wonder if the Catholic leadership even regards sexual abuse a crime. Is there some mind-trick they've used to explain it away, internally within the organization? It's just mind-boggling how prevalent it was/is, how long it has continued and how willing the church has been to protect its criminals.
matty (boston ma)
@Yuki Because the higher ups who shield them were once in their position. They did the same things and go away with it. Cracking down will bring down the house of cards.
farhorizons (philadelphia)
@matty And they don't have enough priests to say Mass and perform sacraments, and this means few donations. It's all about sustaining the Church's property and a very comfortable way of life of Bishops, Cardinals, and priests.
Tim (Hudson Valley )
I spent time in the seminary in New York and Rome decades ago. You can see how clericalism and an "us vs. them" mentality is indoctrinated through what the Church calls, "formation," but is, in effect, brainwashing. A seminarian is allowed no independent thought. You cannot question authority. You didn't even ask questions in class, unless it was done in a way that sought further agreement from the faculty. There was often psychological, and sometimes, physical abuse. You were taught "the brotherhood" of the priesthood, and each priest is considered the "offspring" of the bishop who consecrated him. When a priest has his faculties removed, the term used in the Church is, he is "reduced" to the lay state. This is why I am not surprised by the circle-the-wagons attitude when there are real or perceived threats from "the outside." As we near the third decade of the 21st Century, this attitude among Catholic clergy and hierarchy only gets worse, fueled by ultra-conservative seminaries and far-right-wing Catholic organizations and websites. They want to return to an era of pray, pay and obey, a time when Catholic clout in politics was more important than preaching and living the real Gospel message. In the U.S., especially with Trump, who knows how to use the religious right, they are getting their wish politically, but at a cost, as Church pews empty and bishops and cardinals lose their moral authority...and donations. I'm ever so glad I left the seminary system and the Church.
alvnjms (nc)
The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, commonly referred to as the RICO Act or simply RICO, is a United States federal law that provides for extended criminal penalties and a civil cause of actionfor acts performed as part of an ongoing criminal organization. The RICO Act focuses specifically on racketeering and allows the leaders of a syndicate to be tried for the crimes they ordered others to do or assisted them in doing, closing a perceived loophole that allowed a person who instructed someone else to, for example, murder, to be exempt from the trial because they did not actually commit the crime personally. - per Wikipedia
Danny (Bx)
All men in the church should be monks. Turn over entire public functions of church to the nuns.
bill d (nj)
@Danny That wouldn't help, the nuns may not have the broad track record of sexual abuse the priests do, in large part because nuns don't have that kind of power, but I suspect there is a lot more to the nuns then has been investigated, there hasn't been a broad based look at abuse in the church as a whole. Why do I say this? In Ireland, some of the most heinous abuses at the Magdelene Laundries and at the homes for children born to single women were done by nuns.
The Nuns In Ireland Were As Cruel And Dangerous As The Priests. (Arizona)
Homes for unwed mothers were and particularly in Ireland were run by sadistic nuns. Infants were sold, often to Americans, and there was no recourse for their mothers.
Chris O'Leary (St. Louis, MO)
Thank you for this piece, but y'all have known for years what @CardinalDolan did -- and didn't do -- at Immacolata. About Fr. LeRoy Valentine. And worse. Yet you still haven't written about it. Why not?
Tony (New York City)
Where were the parents when these horrors were taking place? Every child was to afraid to tell there parents, every parent didn't know how to protest and lift up there voices. Yes the church is responsible for all of this but the parents needed to be doing something. As a parent I don't let my kids out of my sight and neither did my parents .
HANK (Newark, DE)
But what if a particular bishop or alleged abuser doesn't pass the Kavanaugh Principle? Corroboration without a shadow of a doubt.
Cold Eyei (Kenwood CA)
You mean “innocent until proven guilty”?
Pecan (Empowerment Self-Defense)
@HANK The search for corroboration was quashed by Pinocchio. But you knew that.
Joe (Los Angeles)
“Some Catholics...” should have their heads examined for remaining in the church. If anything the abuse scandal has proven - over decades - it is that the church never cared about the children but protecting a corrupt malign institution.
@Joe OVER DECADES cannot be emphasized enough!!!!
Greg Reeder (San Francisco)
It seems highly unlikely that a sexually well-adjusted man would commit to a life without sex. Men who have deep sexual conflicts, who are ashamed or sickened by their sexual desires may think a life of abstinence and punishing devotion to God is a way to deal with their sexual dysfunctions. The abuses committed by so many priests and the subsequent cover-ups perpetuated by the Catholic hierarchy is evidence that the rule of celibacy is itself against "natural law."
JM (San Francisco, CA)
@Greg Reeder What percent of Catholic vs non-Catholic Christian clergy have been accused of sexual abuse? This should tell whether celibacy affects this scourge.
@Greg Reeder You are so correct! There are three drives in life; food, sleep and sex. If you deny food, you will die. If you deny sleep, you become psychotic. If you deny sex, you act out. And the bishops and clergy compound this absurdity by demanding your devotion, to God, but it really means the clergy.
Michele Passeretti (Memphis, TN)
Same, or close to the same percentage as the general population. See Fr. Andrew Greeley’s studies.
The whole institution should just be banned, its assets seized and it's clergy thrown in jail. There is no justification for its continue existence in its current form.
John Brown (Idaho)
I think all the Bishops should resign. Then I think the choosing of Bishops should be left to the members of the Diocese to pick three candidates, have them thoroughly vetted and then those three priests voted on by the Diocese. Then the Pope and all the Cardinals should resign. A new Pope chosen by the Bishops and the number of ( new ) Cardinals reduced by 75 %. Bishop should serve for a maximum of 10 years, likewise the Pope. Each Diocese should have a lay board, completely independent of the Bishop, that can investigate allegations. The Bishops should be prohibited in using money given to the Church for the care of the Poor, Retired Clergy, Schools from being paid as "Hush Money". All the Seminaries should be closed and Houses of Formation opened at good Catholic Colleges. Candidates for the Diocesan Priesthood should be nominated and approved by their Parish and if that person is asked to leave the Seminary, the Parish has a right to know why, if the Seminarian contests the leaving. You have to break up the power monopoly that the Bishops/Vocation Directors/Rectors/Seminaries have over who may become a Priest and you have to limit the power of the Bishops if you want progress on the Abuse Scandal and how some men are ordained who have no vocation and why some men who do have a vocation are denied the Priesthood because they spoke out against those who misused their authority.
bill d (nj)
@John Brown I agree totally with you, it is what other churches do, Leaders in other churches are chosen by votes of both the laiety and the ordained, and pastors and priests are vetted and chosen by the members of the parish, not forced on them by some Bishop. The irony of all this is the church claims to be the 'true Christian church", yet the church that has happened over the last roughly 1500 years bears almost no resemblence to the original churches, that were formed by people of faith, led by a priest of their own, the hierarchy and the rest of it has moved away from that model. Put it this way, I doubt very much Christ envisioned the political and power structure of the church as it exists, Christ was the radical who preached against the Jewish leaders of the time, radically threw out notions they were more perfect than their followers, he would likely recognized the Vatican and Bishops and the like for what they are, the equivalent of the Seducees of his own time.
John Brown (Idaho)
@bill d Bishops used to have to stay with the Diocese they were first made Bishop of, this prevented Career Climbers from going from smaller dioceses to larger ones. The Careerists have to not be given power and the Laity have to be listened to.
CollegeBored (Lalaland)
Why in the world would anyone want to remain a member of the Catholic Church? It is built upon a house of lies.
Cold Eyei (Kenwood CA)
After the genocide of the Indians, slavery, My Lao and Abu Grahib, why would anyone want to be an American?
awall (Boston)
RICO! RICO! RICO! and take away their tax-exempt status while you're at it. gross.
djs (Longmont CO)
Sins and failures? These are crimes. The "sins and failures" mentality has been at the core of the criminal conspiracy to aid, abet and conceal. If the church can't call them crimes, it will never regain trust.
Jack Noon (Nova Scotia)
The RC Church has lost total respect from almost everyone except the most fervent (and fact denying) Catholics. From the continuing sex abuse scandals to the church’s appalling treatment of women as second class to its refusal to allow birth control in the poverty-stricken countries that need it most, the Vatican is both irrelevant and irresponsible. Hard to believe any thinking person continues to support this shameful institution.
bill d (nj)
@Jack Noon Yep, the true believer Catholics are very much like Trump nation, they don't care about facts and will listen to any lie or half truth if they think it defends the church. Personally I think the defenders of the church are like the virulent homophobes who turn out to be gay, they are guilty as hell with what the church is done but can't admit to the crimes because they see their own guilt in what happened and refuse to admit that, the way many Trump voters refuse to admit they voted for a lemon, even though many of them privately will tell you Trump was a bad vote on their part.
Bucketomeat (The Zone)
Seize the church’s assets, put them into an escrow account for later distribution to the victims of clergy abuse. Let the church return to its roots as a flock led by itinerant preachers meeting out of doors in small groups.
Discerning (Planet Earth)
The church cannot "rebuild trust" as it has proven itself over time to be completely untrustworthy. Put all who molested and covered up into courtrooms to face the judicial process.
Alistair McMillan (Taiwan)
Absolutely. Why are these priests just being 'defrocked', moved around BY THE CHURCH and effectively getting off scot free? There's clearly no real will to clean up, just to try and save face and cover up.
J. C. Beadles (Maryland)
All US bishops should resign immediately. Their administrative duties should be taken over by lay people, both men and women. The Church must immediately fully open records and make available witnesses to clergy criminal conduct to law enforcement. The Church must stop opposing state legislation that would extend the statute of limitations for sexual abuse crimes. The Church needs to be reformed so that holy people, both men and women, serve as clergy at all levels instead of criminals.
@J. C. Beadles resign???? what, jail is too good for them???
Luke Mott (NYC)
What do you call it when a powerful male has his way with and impregnates a girl without her consent? Christians call it divine. Priests are simply following the founding act of their belief system. If we do not openly examine this, the leaders of this group, whose apparent belief that their power over children is not be questioned, will never fully believe that they are acting sinfully.
Issy (USA)
Exactly! Christianity like most religions are founded and built upon the rape and subjugation of women sexually and their sexuality. Welcome to the Patriarchy, which is just a system that mythologizes, enforces and maintains male sexual dominance. Look back at Greek Mythology to see the roots of how rape, as in the story of Mary’s impregnation by god, is not new or unique. The Rape of Europa, Leda and the Swan, etc...
Maureen (New York)
If all US Bishops offered their resignations, that would give Pope Francis the power to appoint whoever he wants. That is not a good idea at all. Let’s concentrate on making right what is so obviously wrong in the Catholic Church in America today.
Baldwin (New York)
Has any single organization in the history of the planet been responsible for more child sexual abuse? I can’t imagine there is even a near rival. Look at the Catholic Church anywhere around the world and you see exactly the same problem. This is a central part of the organization. I simply cannot understand why anyone would not look for a different way to commune with god than through this slimy, dishonest, and immoral organization.
Cold Eye (Kenwood CA)
Research child sexual abuse in the U.S. public education system.
bill d (nj)
@Baldwin Globally, probably not, though in the US there are problems with a lot of institutions. That said, though, the real problem is that no organization or organizations have been accused of the massive coverup the way the church has, there is one poster who keeps saying "there are more sexual abuse cases in the public schools in the US' (technically true, but those are total numbers, and there are a lot more kids in public schools then are in the Catholic Church, and the percent of abuse cases per 100,000 kids is much higher with the church)..but what they and the other true believers leave out is that no organization has had the kind of cover up we saw here or around the world, and Ireland has more total abuse cases (with a population a fraction of the US) then in the entire US.
@Baldwin: I don't know; how about ISIS and Boko Haram raping girls & women, or doesn't that count? But these organizations are not known for keeping records of this, are they? For example, the ultra-orthodox Jewish community (in NYC, for sure) claims they have no sexual abuse of children or anyone else, and they also claim they have no homosexuals in their group, either. When you look at the various Baptist sub-groups and the evangelical churches in the USA, they have their own sex abuse scandals. There is PLENTY of blame to go around for just about any religious (and atheistic!) group you can name.
Doris2001 (Fairfax, VA)
For many of us who were "cradle Catholics" our view of the Church changed dramatically with the scandal in Boston more than fifteen years ago. Despite the tiny promise of a reformer that Pope Francis appeared to be, I left and never looked back. As it turns out it was not just a "few bad priests" but the entire Church hierarchy going back generations who perpetrated and covered-up abuse of children. And, not just in the U.S. but world wide. I can only only shake my head in bewilderment at those who still faithfully check the box every Sunday and continue to raise their children in this toxic environment. The Roman Catholic church still considers women second class citizens and homosexuals, sinners. The Church hangs-on to their man-made rules from centuries ago and pretends it reflects the teachings of Jesus Christ. The deserve to see their influence dwindle to nothing.
Alistair McMillan (Taiwan)
Well said; while corrupt leaders aren't exclusive to the Catholic Church, and while it's not as bad as it was way back when Popes had the power of kings and (more often than not) wielded it ruthlessly, there's a fundamental problem with this church that since its inception has never really been (and never will be) addressed, so corruption just takes on different forms as the world environment changes. When Popes, clergy and priests have finally realize that they can't continue with one kind of abuse or exploitation, they look for the next. This is not to detract from the few wonderful Catholic bishops, priests, nuns and members who do sterling work wherever they are- but that's more in spite of than because of the organization they belong to.
DLM (Albany, NY)
Finally, civil authorities are starting to see the Roman Catholic Church for what it has been, and, I fear, for what it still is: the largest child-trafficking ring on the planet.
Margot (U.S.A.)
@DLM This cult has also been the primary culprit in bloody war mongering, as well as rape and murder of women and girls for 1000+ years.
S Fred (Minnesota)
After attending daily mass for decades, I no longer view the priesthood as a “calling from God”. I view it as a secret “cult of criminals”.
Bucketomeat (The Zone)
@S Fred Decades?!? Why so long? I saw this as Kabuki theatre when I was 8.
JM (San Francisco, CA)
@Bucketomeat I too knew early something was really inherently out of whack with the priests and nuns and their threats of eternal damnation. How could those who purport they are devoted followers of (or "married to") Jesus Christ be so darn mean?
matty (boston ma)
@Bucketomeat Amen brother! So did I. Especially that part: "For the kingdom, and the the power and glory of Rome, now and forever."
ron dion (monson mass)
For the blind ,Let me shed some light on what is going on here. My FATHER has said it best Ezekiel 8: Matt 23: and the destruction of them in Revelation 16:10-11 King James Version (KJV) 10 And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, 11 And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds. Wait until Pell spills the beans.then this will be very clear to all.
Nightwood (MI)
@ron dion The god you speak of is a monster. Hitler, Stalin, etc., are angels compared to this human made, thought up god centuries and centuries ago. The Bible, for the most part, is a book of ignorance, cruelty, and stupidity. If you want to find and see God, study science and look up at the stars via telescopes. By doing this you will find a few hints... You love your children, your family, our species, the planet, you have found God.
John Kramer (Nashville)
Sins and failures. Sins and failures. Look closely at the language used by these guardians of statutory rape. Sorry Bishop, you are part of a worldwide criminal ring called the Catholic Church. Calling this behavior “sin” is a convenient out for you, as if someone how going to confession will provide ‘forgiveness’ for you and the people you covered for. For the church going Catholics that read this, ask yourselves this question. What percentage of your tithings go to Catholic Church lawyers to fight accusations by rape victims?
Anderson (New York)
Where are all the female priests? (Priestesses?) For some reason women are far less likely to commit sexual assault than are men. The chastity vows need to be abolished also. We like to criticize other countrys for failing to bring their cultures into the 21st century yet some of our institutions are just as archaic.
matty (boston ma)
@Anderson No, it's because the all-men hierarchy doesn't want to share their power and influence with anyone, especially women.
Dlud (New York City)
Perhaps Cardinal DiNardo needs to be next to resign as Bishop as an example to the entire hierarchy. Changing any culture is difficult. Changing the culture of the Catholic hierarchy is several notches beyond difficult because its members are entrenched in honorifics by the institution, by the right of clerical privilege and by their hierarchical peer group. But such a resignation would send the right message. It might start the current reformation that is needed.
Ralph (San Jose)
Who knew that an independent external group is the only reliable way to ensure good behavior? Are there any books that tell us we are all tempted??? In Confucian times in China, they knew that any govt employee should not be allowed to serve in a place where he had family and friends.
HUDSON PARK (66 leroy street 10014)
I don't mean to excuse these horrific acts of sex abuse, but perhaps if priests were not forced to be celibate, there would be a decrease in such atrocities.
Margot (U.S.A.)
@HUDSON PARK The issue isn't celibacy, but criminal actions by predators - who would be predators even if they were not priests or even Catholic. Most men who molest and rape are heterosexual, married and have children.
JM (San Francisco, CA)
@HUDSON PARK I think being allowed to marry would help the problem with sexual abuse of children.
matty (boston ma)
@Margot The issue IS celibacy. The issue is the continued-to-this-day damnation of homosexuality that hopelessly consumes people who find themselves conflicted to the point where they volunteer for the life-long torture of celibacy. And guess what? No matter who you are you're still human, with all your biological baggage. Some can adequately repress themselves until their dying day. Others cannot and when those people are adults they find themselves sexually regressive, and preying on children in their midst is a tempting option.
Scrumper (Savannah)
Law enforcement has also done an appalling job of turning a blind eye to the rampant pedophilia in the Catholic Church by not investigating and prosecuting these perverts. There are so many people who have reported molestation yet very few if any arrests.
Margot (U.S.A.)
@Scrumper Lota Catholic cops and lotsa money spread around to buy off law enforcement and judges by local archdiocese.
maturin25 (South Carolina)
Every single catholic priest heard stories, knew stuff. Every one of them.
Jeff (California)
What is the point? The Church will just appoint other priests as Bishops who will walther act the same of turn a blind eye to the horror.
AC (New York)
yeah, "drain the swamp". they've been telling the homosexual community for decades how horrible they are. they claim to be the "moral compass of the world". please. less preaching, more fixing your own house. disgusting. get off your high horse.
guy veritas (Miami)
Conspiring to protect priest involved in sexual abuse is a criminal offense. Arrest, convict and imprison the Bishops and Archbishops involved. That most certainly would include NY's own Archbishop Dolan.
Raymond (Midwest)
“Sins and failures”? Who the hell are you joking? Try criminal conspiracy. The full extent of RICO statutes should be applied against this criminal gang. Disgusting pedophilic degenerates. I don’t see any relationship to Christ and therefore none of these pious SOBs are in effect christians.
William Taylor (Nampa, ID)
Are all those after Mass prayers to St. Michael the Archangel going to save the Church from this self-inflicted wound? In 1985, the bishops asked for, and received, a report on the extent of this issue with its consequences if nothing was done. That is where my anger starts. The gutless "shepherds" buried the report and punished the men who authored it. Thanks to the National Catholic Reporter, the report was published. Anybody with any sense could see where it was all going to go.
Brian Naylor (Toronto)
Really? I associate Catholics with pedophiles, if they aren’t doing it, they’re accepting it’s a part of their faith by sticking around.
MeeshAZ (Sun City, AZ USA)
@Brian Naylor I'm Catholic. I am not a pedophile. I AM perplexed and angry. Making generalizations against ANY group is wrong. Outside of the victims, the people in the pews (like me) are reeling. P.S. Don't ask me not to give the Church $$. I don't.
GC (Brooklyn)
@Brian Naylor Wow. Do you also associate all Muslims with terrorists, if they aren't doing it, they're accepting it? I always thought open-minded, halfway intelligent people read the NY Times, yet these comment sections prove me wrong time and time again.
terri smith (USA)
@GC You mean like Trump, his supporters and the GOP do?
Kristine (Illinois)
A quick search indicates that the average age of U.S. Catholic priests continues to rise (50 percent of all are over the age of 65). And the number of U.S. priests continues to decline (less than 37,000 today). Twenty years from now the abusive Catholic priest problem may be resolved on its own.
Pecan (Empowerment Self-Defense)
@Kristine Be aware that the sources for the numbers are the bishops. They inflate the numbers to make it seem that they rule more priests/sisters than they actually do. Call the diocese and ask if some priests/sisters are being counted twice (or more). Once by the bishop in whose diocese they are incardinated and again by the bishops in whose dioceses they live/work/study/loaf. Etc.
MeeshAZ (Sun City, AZ USA)
@Kristine Seriously? That's like waiting for Nazis to die instead of holding war crime trials. Jeez...
Margot (U.S.A.)
@Kristine Not with the U.S. having opened the door to 100 million CATHOLIC latinos and Africans since 1965, with 1 million more per year added to that.
Ray K (Calif)
In some states bartenders can be held libel is they serve too many drink to a patron and he crash a car and damages someone. Do we hold bartenders to a higher moral standard than Priests and bishops?
Andrew (Bronx)
Yes, much higher. But they don’t believe an invisible man in the sky is in charge of everything.
Jack (Middletown, Connecticut)
How do you think these Bishops rose up the ranks? They were good company men who played the game. No different than someone who rose up the ranks at General Electric, AT&T or the Federal government Bureaucracy. If you did not tow the company line and play the game, you would never have risen to be in a position of power. If any of these people did not play the game, they would be Associate Pastors in some small outpost.
Pecan (Empowerment Self-Defense)
@Jack Yes, and the early rungs on their ladders were when they lived in rectories with priests who abused children/women and who were well known for it by the future bishops.
St NoMore (West Village)
In the Archdiocese of NY look up Fr Mead...who was busted in an undercover sex sting operation. Promoted to head of ITV. A part of the Ex Vicar General's Greg's inner circle.
Mary O'Connell (Annapolis)
The laity has warned the USCCB over and over again that making rules for those lower down on the totem pole, without accepting accountability or governance for themselves, is a failing policy. They just will not listen. I, for one, am happy to see them personally dragged through secular court. I hope that these actions, our last resort, will have a focusing and humbling effect.
DickeyFuller (DC)
Please. This is exactly what they said in 2002, then again in 2007. The philosophy that the catholic church teaches cannot even prevent its priests who arguably know and believe the teachings better than anyone. So how in the world can the church argue that this philosophy should be used by the rest of us to live a better life? Fortunately for the church most of its true believers are uneducated and willfully ill-informed, so they'll never know about this latest round of admissions.
Presbyteros (Glassboro, NJ)
It's like Nazis after the war. The entire leadership should be purged, and a "clean" leadership installed. This entire leadership structure it tainted, and cannot be trusted.
njglea (Seattle)
Yes, Presbyteros, I'm convinced all the fascist nazis in the catholic church came to OUR United States of America after WWII. Corrupt barely covers it.
njglea (Seattle)
Sorry bishops and other catholic church figureheads. You cannot fix it. The catholic church was founded on hate-anger-fear-death-destruction-Lies,Lies,Lies and is corrupt to the core. Time to claw back all the taxes you have evaded, the government money you have stolen from WE THE PEOPLE for your supposed social and health work and the property you have amassed in OUR United States of America. Your goal has always been to try to take over OUR United States of America and you have blatantly ignored Separation of Church and State written into OUR U.S. Constitution that allows you to worship as you wish without government interference and protect the rest of us from being forced to live as you dictate. Your Time's UP.
Angie Bull (Arizona)
BREAKING THE SILENCE Incredible true story about the sex scandals in Ireland written by the Garda (2 police officers) who were responsible for dealing with the victims of abuse and the CATHOLIC CHURCH. Not an easy read but powerful.
See also