Saint Francis Xavier Catholic Church
Kansas City's Jesuit Parish
1001 East 52nd Street, Kansas City, MO 64110
Office Hours: Monday - Friday, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Wednesday, Aug. 15th 2018

1000 Children – August 15, 2018

The Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report released on Tuesday details the sexual abuse of more than 1000 identifiable victims by 300 Roman Catholic priests in six different dioceses over the course of 70 years and the systematic cover-up of the abuse by church officials.  The report said there are likely thousands more victims whose records were lost or who were too afraid to come forward.  The Report acknowledges that most of the cases happened before the early 2000’s – but that is cold comfort for those victimized in earlier decades.

As I write this on Wednesday afternoon, Pope Francis has made no public comment, nor publically prayed for the victims.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement on Tuesday saying those who shielded abusers “facilitated evil.”  The statement also said, “we are profoundly saddened”…“we are shamed by and sorry for the sins and omissions by Catholic priests and Catholic bishops”…”we pledge to maintain transparency and to provide for the permanent remove of offenders from ministry.”

But is that enough? 

The Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report recommended four changes to help victims of abuse:
+ the elimination of the criminal statute of limitations for sexually abusing children
+ the creation of a two-year window for victims of sexual abuse to file lawsuits
+ the clarification of penalties for failing to report abuse
+ and banning non-disclosure agreements regarding cooperation with law enforcement

Sadly, the Church has historically lobbied against such changes. 

The Archdiocese of St. Paul paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to lobbyists in a futile attempt to defeat the Child Victims Act that passed the Minnesota Legislature in 2013. That law eliminated the statute of limitation for child sexual abuse cases going forward. It also created a three-year window for litigation of many previously barred claims in cases where churches, schools and other institutions failed to provide protection to children.

I support the Pennsylvania Grand Jury’s recommendations, even though I know criminal charges and lawsuits will bring more shame to the Church and, perhaps, bankrupt dioceses. 

But, the only way to the other side is through.

May God bless and protect all children, heal all victims, and bring predators and those who shield them to justice.

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Saint Francis Xavier Catholic Church
1001 East 52nd Street, Kansas City, MO 64110
Office Hours: Monday - Friday, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

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