By Stephen Ryan
My parents came by for dinner last night curious to see if I was finally shocked enough by recent reports of clerical sex abuse that I might be ready to quit on the Church.
I asked them to be more clear about their concerns because what I had read was – 1. the Pennsylvania State Attorney’s report was about crimes that took place almost 30 years ago, with some crimes dating back 70 years… and 2. that since 2002, according to multiple reports, including the Vatican’s investigation, clerical sex abuse against minors has been dramatically reduced – “Finding almost no cases” to use the Vatican’s words.
This was the real story and I suggested to my parents to look at the facts and not headlines written by organizations who are not friendly to the Church.
I did acknowledge that many Catholics are concerned about gay priests but that is an entirely unrelated matter with respect to the PA’s Attorney’s report. And importantly, gay or not, pedophile priests have all but been eliminated.
The important narrative that has been missed is that programs to protect minors against predator priests have been extremely successful. Not emphasizing this point to the faithful is a great disservice to the Church.
Children have never been safer. But this story has been missed almost entirely by the Catholic blogosphere Shouldn’t this be the headline Catholic bloggers should be sharing with their readers. Isn’t this far and away the MOST important issue.
The story liberal press, CNN and most Catholic Bloggers keep hidden from their audiences is the following statement from the Vatican.
The Press Office of the Holy See issued a statement in response to the Grand Jury Report released in Pennsylvania earlier this week, expressing “shame and sorrow” over the contents of the report, while praising the efforts of Church leaders to implement reforms.
“Most of the discussion in the report concerns abuses before the early 2000s,” the statement reads. “By finding almost no cases after 2002, the Grand Jury’s conclusions are consistent with previous studies showing that Catholic Church reforms in the United States drastically reduced the incidence of clergy child abuse.” The statement goes on to say, “The Holy See encourages continued reform and vigilance at all levels of the Catholic Church, to help ensure the protection of minors and vulnerable adults from harm.” The statement from the Press Office also expresses the Holy See’s desire “to underscore the need to comply with the civil law, including mandatory child abuse reporting requirements.”