Lay group urges Pittsburgh Diocese to do more to restore broken trust

National Catholic Reporter

August 7, 2020

By Madeleine Davison

Members of Catholics for Change in Our Church take part in a small-group discussion during the January meeting of the group, which advocates for reform in the Pittsburgh Diocese. (Kevin Hayes)
The Pittsburgh Diocese is reeling from declining attendance and a massive restructuring program two years after a 2018 Pennsylvania grand jury report uncovered widespread clerical sexual abuse in six dioceses in the state. A lay advocacy group now says diocesan leadership has made few concrete steps to restore trust with parishioners.

“I don’t think they’ve made progress since the grand jury,” said Jan Hayes, a leader of the advocacy group known as Catholics for Change in Our Church.

Catholics for Change in Our Church arose out of a meeting of lay parishioners from across the diocese in September 2018, said Kevin Hayes, the group’s acting chair. Horrified by the scale of the crisis, members of the new organization wanted to address issues such as insufficient support for survivors, the diocese’s financial secrecy, and a lack of leadership roles for laypeople. The organization eventually coalesced into seven focus groups, representing about 1,000 total members, he said.

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