5 things to know about Dallas Catholic Diocese’s tough year and plan to name ‘credibly accused’ clergy

Dallas Morning News

December 26, 2018

By David Tarrant

This year brought heavy criticism of the Catholic Church over its handling of the clergy sexual abuse crisis.

And in 2019, the church faces a critical challenge as it seeks to restore faith in its future as it divulges the sins of its past.

In Texas, all 15 Catholic dioceses in the state announced plans to — by the end of January — release the names of clergy who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of children since 1950. The goal is to restore trust to 8.5 million Catholics in 1,320 parishes across the state.

Dallas Bishop Edward J. Burns said at a news conference in October that the lists will be updated as new information becomes available.

“My brother bishops and I recognize that this type of transparency and accountability is what the Catholic faithful want and need,” Burns said.

Burns, whose diocese alone counts 1.3 million Catholics in 74 parishes, said the church needs its Dallas congregants to help rebuild the church. “This can’t be left to the hierarchy of the church to handle alone,” he said in his October news conference.

For some Catholics, the transparency measure is too little, too late. “I’m probably jaded and cynical because there’s been so much of this,” said Lety Martinez Ramirez, a former parishioner at St. Ceclia Catholic Church in Oak Cliff, where the longtime pastor was credibly accused in August of molesting three teenage boys in the parish more than a decade ago.

Ramirez said she is “sickened by the repeated reports of thousands of children being sexually abused by hundreds of priests all over the world.”

“With all that we believe, why is it that when it comes to protecting children we can’t do the right thing?”

Ahead of the name-and-shame efforts, here are five things you should know about the clergy sex abuse crisis and how the Catholic Church is responding to it.

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