More than 300 Catholic priests across Pennsylvania sexually abused children over seven decades, protected by a hierarchy of church leaders who covered it up, according to a sweeping grand jury report released Tuesday.
The investigation, one of the broadest inquiries into church sex abuse in U.S. history, identified 1,000 children who were victims, but reported that there probably are thousands more.
“Priests were raping little boys and girls, and the men of God who were responsible for them not only did nothing; they hid it all. For decades,” the grand jury wrote in its report.
The 18-month investigation covered six of the state’s dioceses — Allentown, Erie, Greensburg, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and Scranton — and follows other state grand jury reports that revealed abuse and coverups in two other dioceses. The grand jury reviewed more than 2 million documents, including from the “secret archives” — what church leaders referred to the reports of abuse they hid from public for decades, state Attorney General Josh Shapiro said at a news conference Tuesday.If something of this duration and magnitude of perversity was uncovered in any other organization, it would be shut down and jails would be filling up.
A long aside: We would note that the archbishop of Pittsburgh for 18 years during this time period was Donald Wuerl, who succeeded the recently "retired" Cardinal Theodore McCarrick as archbishop of the Washington, DC, diocese. McCarrick, you may know, had to "retire" after it came out that he sexually abused minors and adult seminarians over decades. The grand jury report "depicts Wuerl’s actions in Pittsburgh as mixed, at times stopping abusive priests from continuing in their ministries in the diocese and at other times guiding them right back into parishes."
Wuerl also serves on occasion as an enthusiastic prop for his moral beacon, Donald "Rump" Trump, as in this 2017 signing ceremony for a "religious freedom" executive order. What "religious freedom" are we talking about?
The executive order instructs government agencies to consider issuing new regulations to address conscience-based objections to federal HHS mandate, which requires employers to offer health insurance plans that fund contraception, sterilizations and some drugs that can cause early abortions.
It also calls for a loosening of IRS enforcement of the Johnson Amendment, which prohibits religious ministers from making endorsements of political candidates from the pulpit to retain the tax-exempt status of churches.Here's the happy, holy group with Wuerl beaming at Rump (and "prosperity gospel" grifter Paula White on the right):
These are rotted out people, in rotted out institutions, in a rotted out belief system. Period.
BONUS: Charles Pierce --
There is no longer any doubt that the institutional Roman Catholic Church in the United States existed in part—and likely still exists—as a vast conspiracy to obstruct justice in the crime of sexual assault by members of its clergy. If you ever wondered why the Church fought so hard to keep the civil criminal justice system at bay in regards to the criminals and deviants in its ranks, the report of the grand jury in Pennsylvania ought to clear that up for you.It cleared it up for us all right.