Bishop Anthony B. Taylor issued the following statement Aug. 16 regarding the Pennsylvania grand jury report that detailed a two-year investigation of more than seven decades of clergy sex abuse claims in the state.
“Like all of you, I was horrified three weeks ago when I learned about ex-Cardinal McCarrick’s misdeeds. I had met him briefly only once and, of course, suspected nothing. I certainly would never have dreamed that it would have been possible that others could have known about his personal history and still allowed him to remain in ministry, much less advance in the hierarchy of the Church. Upon learning of his suspension from the exercise of public ministry I issued a statement asking for prayers for his victims and all involved. I also reminded everyone of the importance of the safe environment policies of our diocese and repeated my desire to provide assistance to anyone who has been abused by a priest or any other representative of the Church.
“And now, just when I thought nothing could be worse than a cardinal who actually abused minors himself, we learned this week of the devastating results of the grand jury investigation of abuse by clergy in Pennsylvania — more than 300 cases going back over the span of 70 years. While it is true that the overwhelming majority of these were prior to the implementation in 2002 of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, the discovery that criminal acts of this magnitude occurred so frequently prior to that, and that these crimes were often concealed by the very bishops who should have been the victims’ most ardent advocates, is unspeakably disheartening. This is as hard for me to accept as it is for many of you.
“People have asked me, ‘How do I explain this to my non-Catholic friends?’ All I can say is that Judas was one of the 12 apostles and there is a bit of Judas in every one of us. We are a Church of sinners and Satan prowls the world seeking the ruin of souls, but more powerful than any evil is the power of the Holy Spirit who continues to guide us in every age. Over the course of the past 2,000 years the Church has been buffeted by storms and scandals of every sort, but the Lord continues to be in our midst and our faith is in him, not in any single priest, bishop or cardinal.”
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