After pope’s visit, tough talk from abuse survivors – and Chaput

Philadelphia Inquirer

LAST UPDATED: Monday, September 28, 2015

Pope Francis’ speech in Philadelphia harshly rebuking bishops who covered up clergy sex abuse triggered calls Monday for a more forceful response from the city’s own church hierarchy.

From a small rally outside the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s 17th Street offices to legal filings that cited the pontiff’s call for openness, victims and their advocates challenged Archbishop Charles J. Chaput to reevaluate the cases of several accused priests and pledge greater openness in how abuse investigations are handled in the future.

But Chaput, whose archdiocese has been one of the hardest hit in the nation by the scandal, maintained he had already done all he could reasonably be expected to do.

“We deeply regret the past; we commit ourselves to a better future” he said, speaking Monday morning at a post-event World Meeting of Families news conference. Still, he quickly appeared to grow frustrated with reporters’ repeated questions on the subject, adding later:

“In some ways, we should get over this wanting to go back and blame, blame, blame. The church is happy to accept its responsibility, but I’m really quite tired of people making unjust accusations against people who are not to be blamed – and that happens sometimes.”

It was a familiar response, said victims’ groups, from an archdiocese still reckoning with years of fallout from two scathing grand-jury investigations that found many accused priests still serving in ministry, and the first-in-the-nation conviction in 2012 of a high-ranking church official for covering up abuse.

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