NEW YORK (NY)
August 30, 2018
By Edward Morrissey
In the 16 years since The Boston Globe conducted an award-winning investigation into child abuse in the local Catholic diocese, the church has found itself in a constant and recurring crisis over sexual abuse of children and seminarians. The crisis has stretched across three pontificates, numerous countries, and has involved an ever-expanding number of priests, bishops, and even cardinals. And it’s only getting worse.
Over the last two weeks, we have seen why. Three responses from the church’s leadership, in the U.S. and in the Vatican, paint the 2,000-year-old organization as still blind to its predicament — more caught up in politics than in resolution, and its ordained and laity more interested in fighting an ideological war than in demanding accountability at every level of the church.
The latest episode of this crisis started with a grand jury report in Pennsylvania that identified hundreds of alleged abusers within the Catholic Church, and the failings of leadership to put an end to it. The report itself is damning but complex, with outright villains and others who failed to confront evil forcefully enough. Cardinal Donald Wuerl came under particular criticism for failing to act, a charge that Wuerl decided to rebut at his current assignment in the archdiocese of Washington — by publishing a website called “The Wuerl Record.” The website extolled Wuerl’s efforts to curtail child abuse while serving as the bishop in Pittsburgh and his “work as a longtime advocate and voice on this issue.”
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