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Chicago Archdiocese Hid Decades of Child Sexual Abuse

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According to recently released internal documents from the Archdiocese of Chicago, top leaders helped to cover up decades of child sexual abuse at the hands of priests.  The documents were released as part of a settlement between attorneys for the archdiocese and the sexual abuse victims, and depict that priests were purposefully moved from parish to parish to hide the clerics’ histories from the public.  Two Cardinals, John Cody and Joseph Bernadin, approved these clandestine moves to protect Chicago priests engaging in sexual abuse.

Victims Look for Accountability from Catholic Church

While Chicago is not alone in horrific tales of child sexual abuse at the hands of priests, the newly released documents detail the broadest look yet into the scandal of how a large and influential archdiocese responded to the problem.  The documents were posted online yesterday by victims’ attorneys, but for only 30 of the at least 65 clergy for whom the archdiocese says it has substantiated claims of sexual abuse.  An attorney for the archdiocese said that 95% of the sexual abuse incidents occurred before 1988 and none after 1996; he also noted that 14 out of the 30 priests implicated have died, two are no longer priests, and none are active in ministry.  However, for the victims that endured the sexual abuse, this is not a comforting statement, as they pushed for 9 years for church to provide the public with the truth and are haunted by painful memories.  The news out of Chicago echoes the revelation earlier this month by the Duluth Diocese, which released the names of 17 clergy members who were accused of abusing children in Minnesota.

New Pope, New Culture?

Pope Francis has turned a lot of heads during his brief tenure as pontiff.  So far, he seems to have taken aim at some of the Church’s shortcomings and has sharply criticized the training of catholic priests, who can become “little monsters” if they are not properly schooled.   The Pope has also encouraged reaching out to a “changing” generation and being more open-minded about parishioner’s family situations.  Although a lot of work remains to be done to clean up an unseemly culture that has persisted for decades, if not centuries, there may be hope for a brighter future.

 

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  1. Judy Jones says:
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    It is the brave victims who are to be commended for their courage and determination to help expose this ugly truth within the Chicago Archdiocese.

    And the tragic part is that the sex abuse and cover up within the church hierarchy throughout the world is still going on to this day. Cardinals and bishops are still not removing accused predator clergy, and they are still not reporting to law enforcement. Their so called “zero tolerance” policy is not being followed by the bishops who created it. They don’t have to, because there is no punishment to force the bishops to change their ways of protecting their image and the institution rather than protecting children.

    This past week in Geneva, the UN interrogations of Vatican officials showed just how much corruption is still kept secret. The Vatican officials claimed they are powerless over child predator priests. And yet the next day the Vatican admitted to defrocking 400 priests for child sex abuse in a two year period.
    The Vatican is NOT powerless over child predator priests or defrocking bishops and cardinals who cover up these horrific crimes against innocent kids. Until high ranking church officials are held accountable by outside law enforcement for their crimes against humanity, nothing will change and children are still not safe within this archaic secret institution. It seems that we can not count on Pope Francis to get this horrific abuse stopped. None of the popes, including Francis. have taken any decisive action to hold bishops accountable for enabling and covering up sex crimes against kids.

    Child predators need to be kept far away from kids forever. So let’s hope that anyone who may have knowledge or may have been harmed by anyone in the Chicago Archdiocese, will find the courage to come forward and contact law enforcement, no matter how long ago it happened.
    Silence is not an option anymore, it only hurts and by speaking up there is a chance for healing, exposing the truth, and therefore protecting others.

    Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, 636-433-2511, SNAPJudy@gmail.com
    “SNAP” the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests,