UPDATE: On this Ash Wednesday, the NEW YORK TIMES prints the shocking truth and asks some good questions to which the Cardinal has no answers. Have mercy on us O Lord! Press these sentences to read all about it!
IT'S AN APOCALYPTIC JUDGMENT DAY FOR THE ARCHDIOCESE OF PHILADELPHIA AND THE LEADERSHIP THERE HAS NO ONE TO BLAME BUT THEMSELVES!
There are many liberal or progressive Catholics who simply do not believe anymore in Original Sin, Mortal Sin, death, judgment and hell. Their theology of love, especially for the guilty, does not allow for the final judgment and eternal damnation. I wonder if an earthly experience of such will change their minds?
It is judgment day in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Since a "zero" tolerance policy was presumably put into place in all dioceses of the USA about eight years ago, a Grand Jury investigation of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia (the second in five years)indicates that as many as 31 priests who have had some kind of accusation against them in terms of inappropriate behavior with minors, are still functioning as priests.
Within the next two days, the Archbishop Cardinal of Philadelphia will suspend upwards to 21 of these priests until these priests can be exonerated or permanently removed from ministry. Cardinal Justin Ragali hired an independent outside prosecutor to examine all the records of these priests and he is now following this person's recommendations.
Why this wasn't done over eight years ago is mind blowing!
The priest-personal director of this archdiocese is the first high diocesan official charged with endangering the safety of children by the way he managed miscreant priests in Philadelphia, and who may well be sentenced to prison time for his actions of mismanagement. With that we have entered a new phase in this scandal. What bishop, archbishop or even cardinal will be charged with a like-crime, endangering children by their mismanagement of priests who abused children and some cases in the most egregious and unbelievable of ways. Time will tell.
The bishops of the Catholic Church who mismanaged priests thought they were above not only canon law, but civil law are going to have to have their day of reckoning. What were they thinking? They haven't told us! And that is the other part of this scandal, the lack of transparency in "what were they thinking" by disregarding both Church Law and Civil Law in how they managed priests who committed mortal sin and civil crimes against innocent children and their families.
Children who were abused (now adults) and their families have every right to know the truth about why this happened to them and they do deserve appropriate compensation for the egregious mismanagement of priests by bishops in this regard.
Catholics in general must be assured that priests who abuse children will be removed from ministry when it is discovered they have done so. If the civil statutes of limitation have expired, there should be an open and transparent canonical trial in the Church of these priests. If they are innocent, the facts should show it and they should be returned to ministry. If guilty, they should be laicized.
The greatest tragedy in all of this, for victims and for Catholics in general and now for bishops who may face jail time, is that none of this had to happen.
Canon law, both old and new, had laws for bishops to follow and the bishops chose another way. That's water under the bridge now, but I hope a lesson learned.
The 1970's with its new morality, hatred of authority both clerical and civil, suspicion of traditional punishments and lax attitude toward criminals has produced a scandal that is apocalyptic for the Church that once prided herself on discipline and moral integrity.
The three things that bishops must recognize are their top priority are:
1. Appropriate screening and evaluation of those who seek to become priests
2. Appropriate supervision of priests in ministry
3. Following canon law and civil law