Another week and another massive scandal in the American Church. The following is an appropriate summary of the final Report of the Grand Jury investigation of the "widespread sexual abuse of children in six dioceses of the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania":
The investigation captured widespread sexual abuse and institutional cover up across the entire state. Building on investigations of the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese and the Philadelphia Archdiocese by previous grand juries, the 40th Statewide Grand Jury’s investigation covered the other Dioceses of Allentown, Erie, Harrisburg, Greensburg, Pittsburgh and Scranton, giving a complete picture of pervasive abuse in dioceses across Pennsylvania. The grand jury found: [RORATE update: the rest of the Summary is so shocking and graphic we have decided to remove it -- it s available here.]
The office of the Attorney General of Pennsylvania has provided a full website dedicated to the report and its details by diocese here.
The greatest part of the horrid episodes documented by the Grand Jury report happened in the pontificates of John XXIII, Paul VI, and John Paul II. Some happened before. But as the Church "opened itself to the world", according to the desire of John XXIII, worldly behaviors infiltrated the Church more and more. The horrid episodes represent only what could be found in just six dioceses of one state of one country: the putrefaction runs wide and deep.
How could John XXIII and John Paul II have been canonized? Their systematic failures in the naming of bishops were monstrous. How can Francis dare beatify and now canonize Paul VI, one of the worst popes in history, whose nominations throughout the world, and in the United States, managed to make what was bad truly awful?
Let us be honest: as administrators, John XXIII, Paul VI, and John Paul II were no saints. They may have been validly included in the list of saints, but their express-rite canonizations are shown, with each passing week, to have been horrible mistakes. A considerable period of time and long investigations of their grave omissions and of their disgraceful cover-up of perverted or irresponsible bishops should have taken place before any beatification procedure had ever been opened up.
The centralization of the administration of the Church went much deeper in their pontificates. They assumed the responsibility for each of these small faithful. They diluted the responsibility of bishops by encouraging and engorging the useless bureaucracies of the bishops' conferences. These little faithful, the children who were abused, were also THEIR failures, the failures of each one of them (and also of preceding and succeeding popes in a lesser degree, but these are either living or have not been beatified or canonized).
The time will surely come in the future to reassess these failed pontificates and to do all that is possible to reevaluate these hasty procedures, in which so much pain and so much failure and so much corruption were overlooked.