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Statement on the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report on Child Sexual Abuse by Catholic Clergy

300 priests. Thousands of children. A powerful institution. Decades of harm and betrayal. It’s been almost twenty years since the first public acknowledgement of child sexual abuse by Catholic priests in the United States. In the years that followed, we’ve seen similar stories come to light from all around the world. We are grateful for the painful work of the members of the Grand Jury. The two years they spent working on this investigation has shaken the faith community to its core, but it has also vindicated the thousands of victims who have been silenced, ignored, and left to suffer with deep wounds—psychological, physical, as well as spiritual.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 15, 2018

Contact: Jane Fredricksen, Executive Director
Phone: 206-634-1903

 

Statement on the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report on Child Sexual Abuse by Catholic Clergy

 

300 priests. Thousands of children. A powerful institution. Decades of harm and betrayal.

It’s been almost twenty years since the first public acknowledgement of child sexual abuse by Catholic priests in the United States. In the years that followed, we’ve seen similar stories come to light from all around the world.

We are grateful for the painful work of the members of the Grand Jury. The two years they spent working on this investigation has shaken the faith community to its core, but it has also vindicated the thousands of victims who have been silenced, ignored, and left to suffer with deep wounds—psychological, physical, as well as spiritual.

Our hope is that the release of this Grand Jury Report will result in greater transparency within the Catholic Church, resources and restitution for those who were victimized, and a willingness for those within leadership of all faith communities to recognize the need to listen to the victims and survivors who come forward. Their courage in bringing forth the truth is a gift to their church. It is only when they are heard and believed that our religious institutions can become worthy of our faith in them.

"Until the truth is out and there is institutional accountability at the highest levels, this wound of sexual abuse by clergy will not be healed. Sadly this may take generations. But there is no turning back now,” said Rev. Dr. Marie Fortune, Founder of FaithTrust Institute.

Sexual abuse by clergy is not just a Catholic problem. We have worked with every denomination and religious tradition to not only establish prevention policies, procedures, and education programs but also institutional response protocols based on transparency and justice, rather than institutional protection.

The protection of the most vulnerable is at the core of every religious tradition. We do not truly live our spiritual beliefs as individuals or as communities as long as vulnerable children and adults are abused. “It would be better for you if a millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea than for you to cause one of these little ones to stumble.” (Luke 17:2)

About FaithTrust Institute

FaithTrust Institute is a national, multi-faith training and education organization with global reach. FaithTrust Institute works to end sexual and domestic violence by providing religious leaders and advocates with the educational tools and knowledge they need to address the religious and cultural issues related to abuse. For more than forty years, we have worked with faith communities to address clergy abuse and misconduct. For more information, please visit www.faithtrustinstitute.org.

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You can read the Grand Jury's report online here: http://www.philly.com/philly/news/catholic-church-clergy-sex-abuse-read-the-full-grand-jury-report-20180814.html

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