13 September 2018, The Tablet

Three states to open clerical sex abuse investigations

Following the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s report last month, attorneys general in New York, New Jersey, New Mexico and Illinois announced that they were opening investigations into clergy sex abuse.

Pennsylvania’s two-year grand jury report of unprecedented scope identified more than 300 alleged predator priests and more than 1,000 child victims.

New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood subpoenaed all eight dioceses in that state, requiring all personnel records that pertain to clergy sex abuse.

She also established a hotline for victims to call and report allegations of abuse. Under New York law, the attorney general must work with district attorneys to convoke a grand jury, which Underwood is ready to do.

The fallout from the allegations against many senior figures, including the Pope, made by former US nuncio Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò continued.

Many bishops, including Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, Bishop Robert Morlino, of Madison and Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix praised Viganò’s integrity and honesty without mentioning Francis.

Other bishops, including Cardinals Donald Wuerl of Washington and Joseph Tobin of Newark announced that they would hold services of penance on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, which was yesterday. Archbishop Gregory Aymond’s Mass of penance of healing in New Orleans last week attracted 2,000 people.

Cardinal Wuerl is facing criticism and calls for his resignation after the Pennsylvania report said that he allowed priests accused of sexually abusing children to be reassigned or reinstated when he was Bishop of Pittsburgh.

Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego took issue with the Viganò dossier, saying its author “consistently subordinates the pursuit of comprehensive truth to partisanship, division and distortion”. 

A group of conservative Catholic women, the Catholic Women’s Forum, launched a petition calling on Francis to answer the questions raised by Viganò.

“His testimony accuses you, Holy Father, and highly placed cardinals of turning a blind eye to … McCarrick’s egregious behaviour, and promoting this predator as a global spokesman and spiritual leader. Is this true?” More than 30,000 have already signed.

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