Catholic Priests in Crisis: the Pennsylvania Scandal Uncovered

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Updated: Sep 07, 2023
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As of August 2018, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court released public reports of child sexual abuse cases committed by over 300 Catholic Church priests. It is believed to be thousands of more victims to come forward following this investigation. The behaviors reported involving rape, sexual assault, homophobic relations, celibacy, molestation, and sadomasochism. Not only has this lengthy 18-month investigation been ongoing through six of the state’s diocese: Greensburg, Allentown, Erie, Harrisburg, Scranton, and Pittsburgh but allegations of the epidemic began in the 1990s. The grand jury has confirmed that the internal 2 million documents received of sexual abuse scandals exceed more than 30 years back of male and female child victims, which has led to planned charges that will eradicate the statute of limitations.

Furthermore, this story would have not been fully discovered if it weren’t for the unusual behavior patterns from authority figures of the Vatican church who offered to suddenly resign. A BBC News editor expresses that, “In the 1990s the issue began to grow, with stories emerging in Argentina, Australia and elsewhere. In 1995, the Archbishop of Vienna, Austria, stepped down amid sexual abuse allegations, rocking the Church there. Also in that decade, revelations began of widespread historical abuse in Ireland. By the early 2000s, Church sexual abuse was a major global story” (BBC News 2018). The perpetrators of the case can be identified as top Church leaders who are being highly held accountable for their actions which primarily began with the act of covering-up their fellow priests, monsignors, bishops, archbishops, and cardinals abusive wrongdoings.

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In light of this investigation Pennsylvania lawmakers intend to prosecute these very abusers for highly convicted abuse-related crimes. Though civil limits may have to be lifted due to the age restriction of state law hindering victims over the age of 51 unable to seek criminal charges. The grand jury insists on a civil lawsuit of 2 years be arranged to “allow child victims whose statutes of limitations have expired to sue” (Hanna 2018). The report has a significant detail of certain actions performed by these predators. While the crisis is unfortunately unfolding and more victims are coming forward about their abusers, it is still unknown whether justice will be rightfully deserved. The case is in the jurisdiction of the Federal Bureau Investigation Agency who plan on using the “playbook for concealing the truth” of the Pennsylvania church to analyze and come to a constructive decision (Argento and Dodd 2018).

Notably the new allegations have been brought to the attention of the Vatican’s – Pope Francis who is publicly seen as the overseer of the Catholic Church’s doctrine and expected to have a response for this disturbing news. According to major news outlets such as NBC News, CNN News, and the Washington Post, it can be presumed that the Pope is on the victim’s side (Johnson 2018). Although the Vatican itself did not have a comment until two days after the report was released, they encouraged the victims to understand that they too was filled with distraught emotion and are viewing this disturbance as a hard lesson for the Church’s future rule and conductivity. Pope Francis remains to explain that time and time again as much as he continues to be placed in a position of defending the Vatican, he urges that the protection shall no longer persist.

Much less the many factors that play a role in this investigation deem to not go unnoticed according to the FBI and the grand jury. After discovering the vfactual evidence that has been contemplated for years and years, priests are let free, have their tracks covered, or pass away before being prosecuted. Considering the high numbers of victims versus predator priests the case is being acknowledged to have repercussions for all involved in the suffering, humiliation and detrimental health of these young girls and boys. As a student who has attended a private Catholic school in Maryland for four years and experienced interaction with Catholic priests, bishops, and archbishops was entirely heartbreaking to hear. This story motivated me to grasp an understanding of how the Catholic church as a whole truly encapsulates their religion. The Catholic Church priests sexual abuse scandal is entitled as an FBI investigation, but in all honesty, the fall comes back to the proposed actions and history of the Catholic’s mission.

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Catholic Priests in Crisis: The Pennsylvania Scandal Uncovered. (2019, Mar 10). Retrieved from