“State Attorney General Josh Shapiro said at a news conference Tuesday
that more than 1,000 child victims were identified in the report, but
the grand jury believes there are more.The investigation is the most comprehensive yet on Catholic Church
sex abuse in the United States.
The 18-month probe, led by state
Attorney General Josh Shapiro, on six of the state’s eight dioceses –
Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Scranton, Erie and Greensburg – and
follows other state grand jury reports that revealed abuse and coverups
in two other dioceses.
Shapiro said that the report details a “systematic coverup by senior church officials in Pennsylvania and at the Vatican.”
The nearly 1,400-page report’s introduction makes clear that few criminal cases may result from the massive investigation. “As a consequence of the coverup, almost every instance of abuse we found is too old to be prosecuted,” it reads.
“We subpoenaed, and reviewed, half a million pages of internal
diocesan documents. They contained credible allegations against over
three hundred predator priests.
Over one thousand child victims were
identifiable, from the church’s own records. We believe that the real
number – of children whose records were lost, or who were afraid ever to
come forward – is in the thousands.”
Some details and names that might reveal the clergy listed have been
redacted from the report. Legal challenges by clergy delayed the
report’s release, after some said it is a violation of their
constitutional rights. Shapiro said they will work to remove every
The report has helped renew a crisis many in the church thought and
hoped had ended nearly 20 years ago after the scandal erupted in Boston.
But recent abuse-related scandals, from Chile to Australia, have
reopened wounding questions about accountability and whether church
officials are still covering up crimes at the highest levels.
The new wave of allegations has called Pope Francis’s handling of
abuse into question as many Catholics look to him to help the church
regain its credibility. The pope’s track record has been mixed,
something some outsiders attribute to his learning curve or shortcomings
and others chalk up to resistance from a notoriously change-averse
The Pennsylvania grand jury report follows the resignation last month
of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, a towering figure in the U.S. church.
The former archbishop of Washington, D.C., was accused of sexually
abusing minors and adults for decades. Both have further polarized the
church on homosexuality, celibacy and whether laypeople should have more
power. It has also triggered debate about whether statutes of
limitations should be expanded.
“We’re dealing with a long-term struggle not only about the meaning
of justice, but about the meaning of memory,” said Jason Berry, a
reporter and author who has covered the sexual abuse crisis for decades.
“And how honest church has been about this crisis. Most bishops,
besides apologies, have not been on the cutting edge of change.”
“Canon law is not equipped for this kind of thing. It’s an enormous
criminal sexual underground. It’s been surfacing like jagged parts of an
iceberg for 30 years,” Berry said.
“Accountability from inside the church is not happening,” said Anne
Barrett Doyle, co-director of BishopAccountability.org, which that
tracks sexual abuse cases. “But secular society is beginning to affect
the most change.” (!!)
Todd Frey, 50, who says he was abused when he was 13 by a priest in
Lancaster County, spoke to the grand jury. He said he told church and
law enforcement officials over the years, but nothing was done. The
report will be his first opportunity to see if the priest is accused of
abusing others, and who in the church knew. “
Also… “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…
In Erie, a 7-year-old boy was sexually abused by a
priest who then told him he should go to confession and confess his
“sins” to that same priest.
Another boy was
repeatedly raped from ages 13 to 15 by a priest who bore down so hard on
the boy’s back that it caused severe spine injuries. He became addicted
to painkillers and later died of an overdose.
victim in Pittsburgh was forced to pose naked as Christ on the cross
while priests photographed him with a Polaroid camera. Priests gave the
boy and others gold cross necklaces to mark them as being “groomed” for
Further…“For decades. Monsignors, auxiliary bishops, bishops, archbishops,
cardinals have mostly been protected; many, including some named in this
report, have been promoted. Until that changes, we think it is too
early to close the book on the Catholic Church sex scandal…”
1,356 page report: “We, the members of this grand jury, need you to hear this. We know some of you have heard some of it before. There have been other reports about child sex abuse within the Catholic Church. But never on this scale. For many of us, those earlier stories happened someplace else, someplace away. Now we know the truth: it happened everywhere…” http://media-downloads.pacourts.us/InterimRedactedReportandResponses.pdf?cb=22148
“The religious right’s wholesale embrace of the Republican party and of
Donald J Trump, both as candidate and as president, has necessitated a
rewriting of evangelical ethics. Here’s a summary, with annotations.
Yes, we know all about that business about not bearing false witness
in the Ten Commandments, but that was a very long time ago. Can’t we get
beyond that? Truth and truthiness are overrated. After all, did it
really matter that the “birther” nonsense was hokum? Not at all. It
enraged those godless liberals and launched our brother in Christ Donald Trump toward the presidency.
And all those websites fact-checking our president, claiming that he
told more than 2,000 lies his first year in office? Big deal. He’s also
pro-life, and he’s trying to root out transgender folks in the military,
so cut the guy some slack. Besides, that same website that tracks lying
concluded that Barack Obama told 28 lies during his two terms in
office. So there. (Democrats are such hypocrites!)
Let’s be clear here. We’re not talking about polygamy (sorry, Mitt),
only serial marriages. This revision has been a long time in the making.
Yes, Jesus said: “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another
commits adultery, and whoever marries a woman divorced from her husband
commits adultery.” Through the 1970s, we evangelicals ostracized anyone
who was divorced, let alone divorced and remarried. But then we decided
to ditch a family man (and fellow evangelical) in favor of a divorced
and remarried Hollywood actor in 1980. Once that barrier was breached,
we concluded that, hey, if two marriages are okay, why not three?
We grant that Jesus said something about welcoming the stranger and
feeding the hungry. And Leviticus says: “The alien who resides with you
shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as
yourself.” But our careful study of scriptural texts has led us to
conclude that the almighty had Norwegians in mind, not Mexicans or
The president’s scatological comments about Haiti and African nations
provided a welcome relief to the rhetoric of those coddling the
so-called Dreamers. As Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church
in Dallas, noted, Brother Trump was “right on target”.
Our political movement began in the late 1970s in opposition to
desegregation (although our sleight of hand to persuade everyone we
organized to outlaw abortion was nothing short of, well, miraculous). On
racial matters we’re also indebted to our colleague Tony Perkins of the
Family Research Council, who did business with David Duke, longtime
leader of the Ku Klux Klan, way back in 1996.
Perkins also addressed the Council of Conservative Citizens, the
“uptown Klan”, when he was a state representative in Louisiana.
Therefore, we had no problem whatsoever with Steve Bannon or with the
president’s statement blaming the violence in Charlottesville on “many
sides,” both the white supremacists and those demonstrating against
them. We took the Brother Trump at his word when he declared that the
ranks of white supremacists and neo-Nazis included “some very fine
people”. That’s why none of us criticized him. Besides, he wants to
jettison the Johnson amendment to allow us to campaign from the pulpit
while retaining our tax exemptions.
Once again, we have a precedent: David Vitter, the Republican senator
from Louisiana and outspoken champion of “family values” whose phone
number appeared in the date book of a Washington madam – and who
continued to enjoy our support. Regarding that messy situation with Stormy Daniels,
think of the opportunities for the president to share what Franklin
Graham calls his “concern for Christian values”. We’re confident that as
details emerge, we’ll learn that the Brother Trump was discussing his
theological perspectives on human depravity and the second coming.
We’re not yet prepared to embrace pedophilia, but we see nothing wrong with a 30-something attorney
trolling the local shopping mall for teenage dates. After all, didn’t
Jesus say, “suffer the little children to come unto me”? Roy Moore was
simply being Christ-like. Besides, he opposes abortion, and he asked
their mothers for permission.
Enough said. Too many Americans think of evangelicals as dogmatic and
uncompromising, so we’re eager to demonstrate that when it comes to
ethical standards…we can indeed be flexible. Very flexible…”
Randall Balmer is the John Phillips Professor in Religion at Dartmouth College and the author of Evangelicalism in America.
“The report’s key findings are:
Commenting on the impact of the findings, Humanist Society Scotland Chief Executive Gordon MacRae said…
‘These figures show how the majority
of Scotland’s population do not identify with a religion nor believe in
key aspects of spiritual belief… By all measurements Scotland is no
longer a faith-based country – and has not been for some time… This is
important when it comes to the provision of public services for example,
providers must ensure they recognize and meet the needs of everyone –
religious or not.’
These findings are consistent with other recent surveys such as the 2017 Scottish Social Attitudes Survey
(SSAS), which found that 58% of Scots consider themselves
non-religious, including 74% of Scots aged 18-34. The SSAS suggested
that the only generation where religious belief was in the majority was
Scots aged 65+, of whom only 34% were non-religious, compared to 57% of
Scots aged 50-64.
Last year, Humanist Society Scotland
conducted more marriages in Scotland that any religious group, including
the Church of Scotland.
Humanists UK Chief Executive Andrew Copson commented,
‘The evidence suggests that Scotland
is not only a majority non-religious country, but that the non-religious
population is very firm in those beliefs – overwhelmingly rejecting
supernatural, spiritual, and irrational beliefs.
‘In the light of these finding,
senior politicians across Scotland need to stop claiming that Scotland
is a “Christian country” as a means of justifying privileges given to
religious institutions in politics and public life.’(!!)
Question to ponder…Why does America still subscribe so heavily… to primitive, Middle Eastern bronze age religious delusion…?
“For the wages of
sin aiding and abetting child abuse is death loss of tax exemption…but the gift of God the government is eternal life tax exemption through Jesus Christ our Lord the misguided notion…that society funding religious fantasy delusion…is better…than
lifelong educational programs… in reason, rationality…and other reality based subjects…”
Rom 6:23, updated
“It is unacceptable for churches that failed to protect children from
sexual abuse to still have charity status nine months after the royal
commission delivered its final report, a former assistant taxation
commissioner has said.
Terry Hamilton wrote to the prime minister’s office, the Australian
Taxation Office and the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits
Commission (ACNC) expressing concern at the number of unchallenged
breaches of taxation law by Australia’s religious institutions.
The high court of Australia states for church bodies to qualify as
religious institutions the church body must: be instituted for promotion
of a religious object; its activities must reflect that character; and
its practices and conduct must not offend against the laws of Australia. (!!)
The royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual
abuse found more than 4,000 children were sexually abused in 1,691
different religious institutions, including 2,489 children sexually
abused in 964 religious institutions managed by the Catholic church.
“These institutions attract significant financial benefits
particularly through tax exemptions and charity status,” Hamilton said.
“The associated crimes in these cases breach the taxation law
obligations that must result in a forfeit of tax exemptions and the
registration of tax-exempt charities. I notified the prime minister and
the treasurer of these breaches, in particular those relating to the
Hamilton also notified the ACNC, whose role is to determine if an organization meets the requirements of being a registered charity and to
monitor the ongoing compliance of charities with the ACNC governance standards.
The ACNC responded that if Hamilton wanted to raise a concern he could
fill out a separate form for each specific charity he had concerns
An ACNC spokeswoman told Guardian Australia that it had closely
followed the outcomes the royal commission and agreed some of the
findings raised issue of appropriate governance of organization,
including registered charities.
Leonie Sheedy is the head of the Care Leavers Australasia Network
(Clan), which represents those abused in children’s homes and foster
care, including those run by churches…”
Guess who? (Hint: not god…)
Religion blinds the mind to reality…After a lifetime of listening to a priest or minister…you will be…none the wiser…!
Religion is wishful thinking*…
As every year passes…and humanity learns ever more about reality…more and more of the bible is disproven…and made completely irrelevant to every day life…relegated to the realm of primitive myth and allegory…discounted even by “believers”…
* if your wish is to make religious institutions and their leaders…wealthy…off of your own hard labors…
Science is verifiable…religion is unbelievable…(but many still say they try*…!)
Understanding science develops intelligence…Religion develops superstitious ignorance…
Using science has created a better world for the living, because there is no verifiable evidence for an afterlife…Religion creates conflict and chaos for the living…but promises an unverifiable utopia after you’re dead…
Applying science to make lives grander, creates wealth…Religion strips people’s wealth using fear and false/unverifiable pretenses…and uses it for self-aggrandizement…
Science explores reality…Religion postulates a primitive demented fantasy…
Understanding science puts incredible power in the hands of everyday people…Religion dis-empowers the everyday person, and concentrates power in the hands of a few leaders…who appear to prioritize it for the purposes of actively, themselves…or to aid and abet colleagues who are actively…abusing minors…
* a living person of “faith”…is someone who has learned to look both ways…before crossing the road…