Hundreds of Catholic bishops and cardinals from across the United States recently met in Mundelein Seminary in Chicago’s northern suburbs. The plan for the weeklong retreat was to focus on prayer and spiritual reflection over the ever-growing scandal of child sexual abuse within the church. The retreat is a prelude to a summit to be held at the Vatican soon, where the world’s bishops say they will form a comprehensive response to the crisis.
The retreat began a day after it was reported that the Vatican stopped U.S. Bishops from addressing the scandal. The reasoning was that U.S. church leaders had not discussed their proposals with the Holy See in depth beforehand, and this was seen as legally problematic.
While the high-ranking church officials gathered for prayer and reflection, clergy sexual abuse survivors met outside to criticize the way abuse allegations have been handled and continue to be handled. They do not want prayer; they want accountability – and they want to be included in the solution. The Vatican’s ban stunned abuse survivors and other Catholics, who were demanding action.
The church’s long-running child sexual abuse scandal will be discussed in depth at the upcoming Vatican summit, which is to take place in February. Activists and survivors want to be included in the discussions, but that is not going to happen. They are angry about being excluded and they have good reasons to be skeptical. The Illinois Attorney General recently alleged that over 500 priests accused of sexual abuse were never publicly identified by the church, a pattern repeated throughout the country.
Citing their goal to “deepen our sacred to commitment to keeping young people safe,” Chicago’s Cardinal Cupich asked for prayers for the gathering of the Bishops. However, the Cardinal’s 10-year tenure as Chairman of the Bishop’s Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People is not well regarded by survivor activists, several of whom issued a letter to Pope Francis calling for Cardinal Cupich to be removed from his role in organizing the worldwide papal summit on clergy abuse.
We know how hard it is to come forward about abuse suffered at the hands of a trusted figure like a priest. We also understand the reasons many do not step up until several years later. We can help to give you a voice, and to hold predators accountable. We offer compassionate, empathic, responsive representation. We will work tirelessly to provide fierce determination to build the strongest case possible.
Arrange a free and confidential consultation with an Allentown clergy abuse lawyer at Williams Cedar by calling 215-557-0099 today. You can also contact us online. From our offices in Philadelphia and Haddonfield, we represent clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey, including those in Allentown, Scranton, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Greensburg, Johnstown, Eerie, and Wilkes-Barre.