Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Plans and Lives Disrupted

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Plans and Lives Disrupted

Article excerpt

We had plans this week to run an essay about bishops by Eugene Kennedy, whose insights have long provided a way to make sense of what sometimes seems incomprehensible. We were also going to publish a lovely and moving report/reflection by John L. Allen Jr. on his recent visit to Taize. There is a nuclear weapons analysis on hold as well as a report about Catholic Workers on trial in New York.

All of that was held--we'll get to it eventually--to provide coverage of the grand jury report out of Philadelphia on the disturbing cases of child sex abuse by priests and the calculated cover-up of those crimes by members of the hierarchy. We could have chosen to run less about it. For more than 20 years, however, we have argued for release of the details of this debilitating scandal, we have asked the church to come clean, to open the archives and let the community know precisely what was done behind our backs by our leaders. The sad part is that it has taken judges' orders and grand jury investigations, where successful, to undo the secrecy. So when some light is shed and a record of what went on is available, members of the community deserve to know. It is tough reading about awful crimes and the equally awful strategies used to cover them up. We have left much graphic detail out of the account. Given the volume of offenses and the number of perpetrators, it is enough to say that the crimes included the assault, including rape, of considerable numbers of children, boys and girls, often repeatedly, by priests. …

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