According to a grand jury report, released on Tuesday 14th of August, more than 1,000 children were molested by hundreds of priests among six Roman Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania. The investigation lead to one of the most comprehensive reports regarding abuses in US Churches and identified more than 300 priests who allegedly committed the abuse over decades. But one priest felt the need to defend himself even before the release of the report. As FoxNews.com reports, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the archbishop of Washington, said he expects a grand jury report being released Tuesday on the sexual abuse of children by clergy in six Pennsylvania Roman Catholic dioceses to be critical of his actions as the former longtime bishop of Pittsburgh.
Cardinal Donald Wuerl is the sixth archbishop of Washington, serving since 2006, and he previously served as Bishop of Pittsburgh from 1988 to 2006. According to Wikipedia.org and its article about Donald Wuerl, he has a national reputation for zero tolerance of priests who molest minors. He advocated for confronting sexual abuse more directly within the Catholic church hierarchy and stated that in cases of alleged sexual abuse, the first concern should be for the victim. The second concern should be for the victim's family, and the third concern should incite clergy to consider the reputation of the Church. But with just one day before the release of a grand jury report, it looks like Wuerl considered his reputation first.
Wuerl wrote to priests defending himself and stated that he acted diligently to protect children while he was a bishop of Pittsburgh for 18 years. According to FoxNews.com Wuerl said he hopes "a just assessment of my actions, past and present, and my continuing commitment to the protection of children will dispel any notions otherwise made by this report", despite the criticism of his actions in the report.
Wuerl is already dealing with allegations that ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick sexually abused boys and adult seminarians. He defended his predecessor stating that archdiocesan records showed no complaints about McCarrick and he proposed that a panel of U.S. bishops be convened to review allegations of sexual misconduct against other bishops.
Meanwhile there were other reactions to the investigation and the release of the report. The bishop of Erie's diocese wrote a two-page letter planned to be read during Sunday services at all 97 parishes, revealing his first concern was for the victims. "The most important thing I want to do at this moment is to express my sorrow to the victims of sexual abuse that occurred within the Diocese of Erie," Bishop Lawrence Persico wrote, as FoxNews.com reports. "As the grand jury report demonstrates, they have experienced cruel behavior by the very individuals who should have had the greatest interest in protecting them. They have suffered in darkness for a very long time."
Photo Credits: Wikipedia