Parishioners Praise Bishop’s Response to Alleged Cover-up
By Chelsea Strub
September 2, 2018
In the wake of a scathing grand jury report accusing--among others--59 priests in the Diocese of Scranton of sexual misconduct, Bishop Joseph Bambera has restricted former Bishop James Timlin, who is implicated in cover-ups in the report, from representing the church in public.
Timlin led the diocese for two decades.
As Mass let out at St. Paul's Rectory in Scranton on Sunday, many parishioners we spoke with believe Bishop Bambera's decision regarding former Bishop James Timlin is a step in the right direction.
Whether more should be done to strip Timlin of his benefits from the church, parishioners say that decision is up to officials in Rome.
"I think it's smart to have him step aside right now for duties until they do further investigation," said Maureen Manzano of Scranton.
"I mean, if you're too controversial, at some point you have to be asked to step aside, and therefore relieve the controversy, let it die down to some extent," said Rick Lavelle of Scranton.
Some questions remain including whether Bishop Timlin should continue to be taken care of by the church or if an internal report on Timlin leading to this latest decision should be made public.
"Denial of pensions and putting these people or some of them in a position of destitution, I'm not in favor of that."
"Everything needs to come out. There's got to be complete transparency. The good Lord didn't come to hide things. He came to reveal things, and those who endeavor to serve in his stead should be doing that, too," said Bob Shaffern of Scranton.
Shaffern teaches church history at the University of Scranton. He says restricting the former bishop shows that Bishop Bambera is taking the accusations seriously.
"It's an unprecedented thing for a living retired bishop to get a penalty like this, so whether it's enough is hard to say, but it's certainly something we haven't seen before in the history of the American church."
Whether or not Bishop Timlin will be defrocked is up to the Vatican.
The 93-year-old former bishop will no longer be attending church events, participating in special Masses, giving last rites, or any other religious duties he's performed since his retirement.