The Vatican broke its painful silence about the Pennsylvania grand jury report that exposed and detailed decades of sexual abuses by priests and subsequent cover-ups by bishops. In a statement, The Vatican called the accusations “criminal and morally reprehensible.”

The release stressed that the “Church wants to listen to [abuse victims] to root out this tragic horror that destroys the lives of the innocent.”

It also noted that “By finding almost no cases after 2002, the Grand Jury’s conclusions are consistent with previous studies showing that Catholic Church reforms in the United States drastically reduced the incidence of clergy child abuse.”

Here is the full text of the release

Declaration of Greg Burke, Director of the Holy See Press Office
re: Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report

Regarding the report made public in Pennsylvania this week, there are two words that can express the feelings faced with these horrible crimes: shame and sorrow. The Holy See treats with great seriousness the work of the Investigating Grand Jury of Pennsylvania and the lengthy Interim Report it has produced. The Holy See condemns unequivocally the sexual abuse of minors.

The abuses described in the report are criminal and morally reprehensible. Those acts were betrayals of trust that robbed survivors of their dignity and their faith. The Church must learn hard lessons from its past, and there should be accountability for both abusers and those who permitted abuse to occur.

“Most of the discussion in the report concerns abuses before the early 2000s. By finding almost no cases after 2002, the Grand Jury’s conclusions are consistent with previous studies showing that Catholic Church reforms in the United States drastically reduced the incidence of clergy child abuse. The Holy See encourages continued reform and vigilance at all levels of the Catholic Church, to help ensure the protection of minors and vulnerable adults from harm. The Holy See also wants to underscore the need to comply with the civil law, including mandatory child abuse reporting requirements.

The Holy Father understands well how much these crimes can shake the faith and the spirit of believers and reiterates the call to make every effort to create a safe environment for minors and vulnerable adults in the Church and in all of society.

Victims should know that the Pope is on their side. Those who have suffered are his priority, and the Church wants to listen to them to root out this tragic horror that destroys the lives of the innocent.

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  1. If the Pope truly is on the victims’ sides, then he should defrock and excommunicate any living priests or bishops mentioned in the report, and declare that homosexuality is a sin. But he won’t do that because he has too much invested in”normalizing” homosexuality. Just look at how the World Day of Families is being promoted!

    Catholics are tired of empty rhetoric and surface compassion. They want action now!

  2. What a joke. The abuse was homosexual predators breaking in new converts. The pope has to be clear and unapologetic about the problem and the cure.

  3. He who is without sin let him cast the first stone. Nothing will rock my Faith. I pray for those who have suffered under the evil of these men who have betrayed God and all that is good. They have abused their sacred position. These pocket of badness do just that come in pockets and if we see at any time evidence of this we must act. I know people who ignored the Newcastle badness when it was occuring and should have acted, however chose to say” ….. I knew years later. Too late! God Bless.

    • We are all sinners and very weak. Our Catholic faith is built on Our Lord Jesus and on His commands. He forgives us no matter how many times we fall to sin through our weakness. Remember we have to forgive “Seventy-times Seven”. So please just for a pocket of Weak SInners why should cry hoarse and call Vicar of Christ’ authority to question? Trust in God and the best will be done for all concerned.

  4. This is , in my opinion an insufficient response and smacks of the same smoke and mirrors double speak we’re hearing from the Diocese of Washington. I will pray and fast for a greater courage from Rome.

  5. […] The Catholic Reaction to Bishops & PA Sex Scandal – J.D. Flynn, CNA via NC Register Vatican Breaks Silence: PA Sex Scandal: Criminal & Morally Reprehensible – uCatholic Bishop Trautman Responds to Release of PA Grand Jury Report – Carl […]

  6. Homosexuality and pedifelia are two different things. That said, the Church must reemphasive the fundamental pillar of any vow which is sacrifice. Ignoring that when recruiting seminarians is accepting with a wink and a nod that which happened in Pennsylvania.

  7. It is such a sad and horrific time in our Church. All of us must return to a very prayerful time for our Church. Hate the sin BUT love and forgive the sinner. I know this is not an easy task but as Children of God, sometimes it is not easy and we must follow Jesus’ greatest commandment ” To Love one another as I have loved you.” God Bless all the people affected by this HORROW.

  8. Aug. 18, 2018: This is beyond sad. When I read the Holy Father’s response I wanted to cry … I know he has called homosexuality ‘filthy’ in the past and my hope now is that he is going to give himself to prayer under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and some holy counselors before jumping into the cesspool of this sin – let us pray for him that he may truly act as God so desires…otherwise, nothing will change. Meanwhile, we must pray fervently and contact our Cardinals and Bishops respectfully…Janet Smith, a moral theologian and a consecrated virgin, has written a scathing but respectful response which some of us are copying and sending to our Cardinals and Bishops. Google the letter and see if you could use it…may God help us all!

  9. We face a crisis that I think will change the institutional Catholic Church forever. The Church already faced a crisis as its leadership has chosen to abandon the traditional view that the wisdom of God should always be taught as a means of challenging the wisdom of the world. Today’s Catholic church seems determined to follow the path of many main line Protestant denominations in conforming the wisdom of God to the wisdom of the world. The Protestant denominations have been losing membership to more traditional Protestant groups for a long time now and the Roman Catholic Church is happy to follow them down that path. It is in this context that the sexual predation of priests and Bishops is about to be fully exposed. The institutional Church had its chance to deal with this crisis 15 years ago when it first began to be exposed. Instead, the Church chose institutionally to cover up and protect its offenders. This is especially horrible when some of those offenders were the very Bishops, Rembert Weakland, Theodore McCarrick and others around the world, who promised to clean up the scandal.

    I hope I am wrong when I say that even this newest scandal is just the tip of the iceberg but I am afraid that I am not. If I am right, lawsuits will come that will bankrupt many dioceses. Priests and a significant number of Bishops will wind up in jail. I have to think that law officials from all the states in the US and from governments worldwide will put aside any deference they might have had for men of the cloth and will pursue all allegations with renewed strength and vigor. As this plays out, faithful Catholic Christians will look for other places where traditional Christian teachings continue to be offered and where Church institutions live more closely to what they preach.

    Many Catholics will look for more fundamentalist Christian churches. That trend has already been growing over the last few decades. Catholics laity who remain faithful to the teachings of the Church may look to establish small communities that follow ancient monastic traditions of prayer, sacrifice and service to others led perhaps by a monk or small group of monks who follow those rules. The Benedictines come to mind as an example.

    Things are going to change and I suspect that the change will be dramatic. I am confident that the Catholic faith will remain and be reinvigorated. I am far less confident that the institutions that have built up around the faith over the many centuries will remain, at least not in their current form. Yes there are many priests who are the cause of the predation of younger members of the Church but it is the institution of the Church that covered up their sins and protected the sinners. It is the institution that is going to change. My concern is that many Bishops and Cardinals still don’t understand what is about to happen.

  10. Put your trust in God and our Lord Jesus Christ. Outside of the Mass, it is very difficult to trust those I have no way of knowing personally as our priest come and go so quickly. My conversion came in 2002 at the end of the first wave of scandal. During the past 16 years I have seen few Priests focus more on their flock and less on the politics of the diocese. In the beginning I considered moving from Church to Church to find a true shepherd but realized that you get out what you put in when believing. I now focus on God and our Lord Jesus Christ and not he who stands as their symbol. During Mass I look past the man and to whom he is committed to portray. Those who use their position with Church to commit evil, whether they do the act or ignore it, must be judged as proscribed by law. But the ultimate judgement will come later whether they believe it or not. True forgiveness come with a price, remorse for what they have done, repentance and repair. Fulfillment of this penance will also be judged by the only authority with this power, our Lord Jesus Christ.

  11. OK. This statement is OK. What the faithful need from the Pope is a statement of what will happen to remove power from any bishop still living who covered up any horrendous acts, and to punish any priest/deacon who was involved. What is his plan to rid the Church of the grip a homosexual element has on the Church.

  12. The Director of the Holy See Press Office said “there are two words that can express the feelings faced with these horrible crimes: shame and sorrow”. This is not Biblical enough. Our Lord was “indignant” at the corruption of the Temple and the turning away of the children. We need holy anger, manly anger. Shame and sorrow can paralyse if not joined to holy wrath. Ask any father how he would feel if his child were preyed upon. The Church Fathers often displayed such a feeling which drove them to action. I feel it, enough that if I met McCarrick and his ilk right now they would be severely incapacitated and never again in a condition to corrupt the little ones. And if I had a millstone… “Men without chests” lamented C S Lewis. Give us once again some holy anger, give us leaders who are men.

  13. Do you all want to know why certain men of the cloth behave badly? Because they are sinners. Just like everyone who goes crook about them! (In no way am I defending the indefensible as I have been accused of elsewhere but some – not all – of those souls who huff and puff and jump up and down about this admittedly terrible scandal happen to support gay marriage, abortion and/or euthanasia. All just as bad in God’s sight.)

  14. Sincerely, this US news about sexual abuse by priests seems to me to show a clear connection between liberal theology, especially moral, lack of care for liturgical matters, and exclusion of faithfully conservative men from the seminaries. Whoever is in this environment surely no longer has faith and will certainly not mind mortal sins or their consequences, eternal damnation.I ask you: why does this not exist in obviously conservative and traditionalist groups, especially those who are not clericalists and realize the importance of the education of the layman?

  15. The Catholic Church needs to strenghten it’s standards of selection of candidates for the Priesthood, especially, in the present world of materialism. This is not withstanding the fact that more and more people are shying away from the vocation. Repentance of the sinner should be seen to be true. Peter denied Christ three times and repented and now our role model. The layman is highly vulnerable, therefore, the Faith must be upheld and strenghtened by the Clergy.

  16. Agree that a more stern action is taken against pedophile priest and also adulterer priests. We should expect that their faculty as practicing priest is removed.

  17. These men never wanted to be priests these ar the very men the world said yes to and this world needs to think wat there have done if the Catholic Church said yes to them it would be the best church in the world I hope to god these priests stand down and do not leave it upto pope Francis god bless the people ow have been abused


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