On Wednesday, January 2, hundreds of bishops throughout the U.S. convened at the Mundelein Seminary in Mundelein, Illinois for a week-long retreat. The retreat featured days of prayer and reflection for the bishops and cardinals involved in the clergy abuse scandal that has overwhelmed countless dioceses across the country. Before tackling clergy abuse, which continues to pervade the Catholic church, Pope Francis urged bishops to schedule a retreat that would build unity among its members.
While the retreat commenced, clergy abuse survivors met in front of the Archdiocese of Chicago to protest how the Catholic church is handling the rampant accusations of sex abuse. They pointed to the fact that the church continues to discount the severity of the allegations and dismisses the pain and suffering that abuse survivors endure. Furthermore, they demand accountability from the church, especially once the public discovered that the Vatican barred bishops from discussing the sex abuse scandals at the November summit that was held in Baltimore.
Another fan to the fire transpired in the release of a report by the Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. The report alleges that the church failed to publicly identify more than 500 priests in Illinois who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse. Abuse survivors are rightfully enraged by this blatant slight.
In the meantime, Pope Francis received a letter from abuse survivors and other activists from the End Clergy Abuse and Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) demanding the removal of Cardinal Blase Cupich from his duties in organizing the worldwide papal summit set for February. Members of the organization believe that the Cardinal from the Archdiocese of Chicago is ill-suited for the job and cite the lack of trust they have in him to resolve the issues and provide survivors with the peace and justification they need to move past the abuse. Many believe that the summit next month will not result in any significant changes or understanding from the Catholic church about clergy abuse.
Above all, clergy abuse survivors want to be involved in rectifying the wrongs perpetrated by abusive priests and clergy members who dismissed the claims for decades. Without their presence at the summit, they feel that nothing will change for the better. Until that happens, survivors and sex abuse advocates created an initiative called “Fight for 500” that would expose abusive priests in Illinois who appear in the Attorney General’s report but remain hidden from the public.
Any adult who experienced horrific clergy abuse as a child may face emotional trauma that disrupts every aspect of their lives. At Williams Cedar, our Allentown clergy abuse lawyers will strive to find the peace you deserve after enduring abuse. Please call us today at 215-557-0099 or contact us online to schedule a free and confidential consultation with an attorney experienced in clergy abuse litigation. From our offices in Philadelphia and Haddonfield, New Jersey, we represent clients across Pennsylvania, including those in Allentown, Scranton, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Greensburg, Johnstown, Eerie, and Wilkes-Barre.