Time's Up: Catholics Demand Truth

Times Up: Catholics Demand Truth

Catholics are horrified at the recent revelations of clergy sex abuse and cover up.   And they are demanding truth!

Background

We are concerned Catholics who are demanding truth, accountability, and action from those in authority in cases of clergy sex abuse and the subsequent cover up.

From February 21 – 24, 2019, Pope Francis will meet with the heads of the bishops’ conferences from around the world to draw up a protocol for addressing clergy sex abuse.  The organizers of the conference, Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich, Mumbai Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Maltese Archbishop Charles Scicluna and the Rev. Hans Zollner have stated, “Absent a comprehensive and communal response, not only will we fail to bring healing to victim survivors, but the very credibility of the Church to carry on the mission of Christ will be in jeopardy throughout the world.”

They also stated, “Each of us needs to own this challenge, coming together in solidarity, humility, and penitence to repair the damage done, sharing a common commitment to transparency, and holding everyone in the church accountable.”  They have urged conference presidents to meet with victims before they come to Rome “to learn firsthand the suffering they have endured,” an appeal that reflects the bishops’ prolonged unwillingness to meet with victims. That reluctance is inexcusable.

As you are aware, on August 14, a Grand Jury in Pennsylvania released a report detailing the abuse suffered by over 1,000 child victims, and names over 300 Catholic priests as credibly accused. In addition to the individual crimes, the report shed light on the decades long effort of Catholic Church officials to shield the perpetrators from prosecution, and generally hide details of the crimes from the public. More statewide investigations are underway in Washington D.C., Virginia, Iowa, Florida, Illinois, Arkansas, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Vermont, etc.  It is clear that more revelations of cover up will follow, crippling the credibility of our leaders and the desire of Catholics to remain within the Church.

Along with many other Catholics, we are calling on Pope Francis and the U.S. Bishops to undertake radical reforms that will address clergy sex abuse and its cover up by those in authority urging that leaders:

  • Immediately report to civil authorities any credible accusation of abuse by priests or cover-up by the hierarchy. 
     
  • Open all files regarding sexual abuse at the Vatican, national bishops’ conference, and diocesan levels for review by experts.
     
  • Remove and prosecute all bishops who knowingly reassigned sexually abusive priests from their leadership positions and take steps to ensure that those who are appointed have not engaged in criminal activity.
     
  • Categorically reject any proposal that places a metropolitan bishop in in an oversight position and support Cardinal Blaise Cupich’s statement that the bishops must “cede all authority” to people outside of the hierarchical system creating panels of lay experts to review and respond to all complaints of sexual abuse. 
     
  • Immediately cease efforts to block the lengthening of statutes of limitations on sexual abuse of minors.
     
  • Provide payment for counseling and financial compensation to anyone bringing forth any allegation(s) of sexual abuse by church staff that is deemed credible by an independent panel of expert reviewers.
     
  • Develop a process of public reconciliation where victims and survivors of abuse can speak clearly and directly to church leaders.
     
  • Categorically reject the scapegoating of Gay men in the priesthood to make clear that there is no causal connection between sexual abuse and homosexuality.  
     
  • Make individual apologies to every victim and affected family.
     
  • Take concrete steps to dismantle clericalism and employ women and lay people at all levels of church governance and ministry.

As Catholics who care deeply about our Church, we urge Pope Francis and the U.S. Bishops to take robust action in addressing this crisis in our Church today with the aim of healing those who are victims/survivors and re-establishing trust with Catholics in the U.S. and elsewhere.

This organizing packet offers the tools you need to gather Catholics in your city or region and demand truth!