Catholic church facing declining dollars and participation as investigation widens

The Morning Call

November 29, 2018

By Tim Darragh

Karen Votta is a “born and bred” Catholic who felt herself drifting from the church as the “Spotlight” sex abuse scandal exploded out of Boston in 2002.

Despite her disappointment, the Bethlehem woman says she continued to attend Mass occasionally and send contributions to the church.

But the lurid Pennsylvania grand jury report released in August, exposing 301 allegedly abusive priests and more than 1,000 victims in six dioceses across the state, made Votta question the church — but not her belief in Jesus — even more deeply.

“I am Catholic, although I don’t know why I keep sticking around,” Votta said. “The church just keeps making it harder and harder to be a good Catholic… My whole Catholic family has drifted away.”

Revelations of sexual misconduct by priests and cover-ups by their superiors have not only damaged the relationship of laity like Votta to the church, but also appear to be cutting into weekly collections as well — impacts that one study suggests may be permanent. And while it is too early to know how deep the harm will be, the scandal will remain front and center in Pennsylvania and across the country well into 2019, leaving a wound that may take a long time to heal.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.