It Is Past Time for a National Federal Investigation into the Catholic Church

SNAP Network

November 16, 2020

The United States is lagging behind the rest of the world when it comes to investigating and preventing cases of Catholic child sexual abuse. We need to catch up and we can start by launching a federal investigation into sexual crimes and cover-ups committed by clergy and staffers.

Australia, the UK, France, and Canada have all launched their own nationwide investigations into crimes committed against their children and the vulnerable by Catholic clergy. It is time that the US does the same. The McCarrick report is only the most recent example of the critical need for secular oversight and it is becoming clearer and clearer that we cannot trust the word of Church officials when they promise to investigate their own.

Revelations that multiple US bishops lied to protect their friend Ted McCarrick from a Vatican “investigation” illustrates that internal probes are fraught with bias and unlikely to be probative. But the McCarrick scandal is not the only situation that shows the need for external oversight.

Take, for example, the case of Nicholas DiMarzio, a bishop in Brooklyn. Bishop DiMarzio had been tasked by the Vatican to investigate wrongdoing in the neighboring Diocese of Buffalo, but he himself has been accused twice of child sexual abuse and a nearly-year-long investigation from Vatican officials has yet to reveal any findings to the public. For another example, look at that of Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore. Archbishop Lori was tasked with investigating the crimes of former West Virginia bishop Michael Bransfield, but when he released his final report, the Archbishop scrubbed any mention of the lavish financial gifts that Bishop Bransfield doled out to other prelates, including Archbishop Lori himself.

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