Today’s edition of The Catholic Standard & Times, the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, includes a front page staff report on parishioner reaction from across the diocese to the grand jury report on priest pedophiles and the Church officials who covered up the scandal. (Article link at end.)
The reporting staff had their work cut out for them. Kudos to editor-in-chief Matthew Gambino for publishing a credible range of reaction gathered from the pews. Over the years, the Cardinal’s office often placed handcuffs on CS&T reporters in regard to what was covered and how it was covered. I speak from experience. I was an editor there from 1991 to 1997. As a journalist, it was demoralizing to have a public relations executive red lining factual information deemed unpalatable. In my day, the controversies were financial – such as parish closings. I had no idea the Cardinal’s office was also covering up for pedophile priests.
It’s harder to gather reaction from Catholics on the fringes of their faith – those who were already distanced by issues such as annulments, homosexuality, birth control. So many outreach efforts to bring them back into the fold have likely been undone by the hypocrisy of the hierarchy.
The article also references Archdiocesan initiatives in the area of child protection. Here is a link to that office: The Archdiocesan Office for Child and Youth Protection
The office and its initiatives are under severe scrutiny from child protection advocates and professionals. Their Web page highlights victim outreach efforts including a hotline that was allegedly used to gather information in order to safeguard the legal interests of the Archdiocese.
Via Facebook, The Catholic Standard & Times also provided me with two links on initiatives. Here they are:
Please share any personal or professional reaction to these initiatives.
Holding On To The Light – Parishioners Respond to Grand Jury Report, The Catholic Standard and Times staff report, March 3, 2011