Dec. 29, 2019
By Wendy Ruderman
As Phoenix Robertson sat in church on Sunday, she looked around and noticed — not for the first time — that she was one of very few young people attending Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul in Philadelphia.
The 24-year-old resident of West Philadelphia said she believes the dwindling numbers of her peers at Mass each week is largely due to how the Roman Catholic Church has handled cases of child sex abuse by covering up allegations and shielding priests from public scrutiny for decades.
And the latest scandal, which came in the form of a news report that diocescan leaders nationwide had failed to disclose the names of hundreds of clergy members accused of sexually abusing children, will only engender more distrust and disdain, Robertson said.
“It’s bad for the church to cover things up. It’s bad for our collective souls,” Robertson said after emerging from 9:30 a.m. Mass. “But regardless of how it affects us, obviously the survivors or victims should be the top priority and it’s bad for them more than anyone.”
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