Last week’s suspensions have left many unanswered questions. Parents are stunned their children served Mass with priests who they now know were credibly accused of sex abuse. The Philadelphia Archdiocese chose to leave us in the dark until last week.
When was the priest first accused? What was the accusation? Why was he left in a position that offered proximity to our children? Why did it take the grand jury report to get the Church hierarchy to do the right thing?
Parishioners affected by the suspensions are asking these questions. No one is answering. Many are infuriated by the vague announcements made during Ash Wednesday services in front of parish school children. The attempt to downplay events did not go over well.
Why not hold parish-based, adult-only meetings? “Parishes need to have open forums where people can vent their frustrations and get all their questions answered,” said Vince Wesolowski, to Monica Yan Kinney of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “That’s the only way we’ll ever get closure.”
I agree but we need more than that. Every single clergy member directly involved with the cover up should be removed – right up into the Vatican. Clean God’s house.
With a great deal of mistrust and no way to register their anger, some say they will pull their children from the parish schools. And do you think collections are down this week? Many are angered their Church offerings have been used for the Archdiocesan legal defense and priest payoffs. (Father Edward Avery was offered $87,000 to leave the priesthood quietly. They should have defrocked him and given that money to victim outreach!) While individual priests are required to retain legal counsel at their own expense, the diocese retains separate legal representation. Imagine the billable hours spent on the cover up over the last decade.
Important archdiocesan services will be cut and schools will close due a financial hardship that could have been avoided with honesty. Those who loyally served the Lord will lose their jobs because of those who acted in every way but Christ-like.
Jesus is our shepherd; but I can’t believe He wants us to behave like sheep. Ask questions. Demand answers.