Catholic Bishops Issue Update on Child Abuse Scandal

By Keith Peters
Family News in Focus [United States]
February 21, 2005

An end may finally be in sight to the sexual abuse scandal that has rocked the Roman Catholic Church.

For a couple of years now, the Catholic Church has been devastated by a sexual abuse scandal. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops says, while the crisis involving the sexual abuse of minors in the church is not over, the church's leaders are hoping that a corner has been turned.

Still, Dr. Kathleen McChesney of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said the crisis is not over because thousands of victims across the country are still reporting the abuse.

"In 2004, at least 1,092 allegations of sexual abuse were made against at least 756 Catholic priests and deacons in the United States," McChesney said. "Most of the alleged incidents occurred between 1965 and 1974. What is over is the denial that this problem exists, and what is over is the reluctance of the church to deal openly with the public about the nature and extent of the problem."

David Clohessy, who is with the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said he hopes the Catholic Church will now be proactive.

"It takes courage," Clohessy said, "to look at your seminary classmate and say, 'I think you're a child molester and I'm removing you from ministry.' It takes courage to suspend your long-time fishing buddy, your best fundraiser, your most charismatic pastor."

He said, above all, the bishops and clergy need to respond to those abused like compassionate pastors rather than , as he put it, "timid CEO's."


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