Bishop Accountability lists 16 accused and/or convicted sexual predators in the Diocese of Scranton. News articles that included interviews with Diocesan officials list as many as 9 more who’s names are being kept from the public. If you look at the database for accused priests for Pennsylvania, the number listed is 192. Imagine the depth of the problem if they all had 5 victims, 10 victims, 15 victims. Do the math and be as sickened by this as I am.
From personal experience, I know that the list is not complete. I had to work to get my perpetrator priest listed. The Diocese of Scranton had known of his activities as early as the 1990’s, at least that is what they will admit to. With the knowledge that he was dangerous, they kept his name quiet and sequestered him in a facility that caters to the housing of priests who probably should be in the state prison system. How many other priests are they sheltering? How many of those priests are in parishes or parochial schools right now with access to children?
I want to believe that the majority of priests serving in parishes are doing good work, that they are following a call to service. But I also think that priests are choosing to not speak up and challenge a system that victimizes the most vulnerable of the church’s followers. Not only children (of both sexes) are at risk but, vulnerable adults as well. To do so would put them at odds with their bishops and would perhaps negatively affect their ability to be effective. I also believe that there are priests that have made reports but those reports were kept quiet and no action was taken. Those priests have an obligation to force the issue in whatever manner is necessary to protect children and force their diocese to do the right thing.
There are priests that saw what was going on and made the conscious decision to not do the right thing. They had knowledge, either first hand or from credible sources but have chosen to keep that information quiet. Some of those men are now in positions of authority. I am not sure how they sleep at night. Imagine a Monsignor who as a young priest decided to take no action when he encountered another priest sexually abusing a child. How can a man simply turn around and leave the room closing the door behind him? The more I hear the stories from other victims, especially from those who have the same perpetrator as I, the more clear it all becomes to me. These people have no shame, they have no honor and they have no right to call themselves men of god. I know who you are, I know what you have concealed in order to get ahead. Others do as well. Remember that when you look out on the congregation on Sunday. More and more of those eyes know the truth.
The Diocese of Scranton keeps it’s dirty little secrets by offering small settlements, stipends, or garnishment of the perp priest’s retirement check. In order to garner such a settlement, it is their practice to have the victim sign a confidentiality statement, no doubt they want to keep the victim silent or to have them parrot that the settlement was completed amicably. They are quick to point out that Statutes of Limitations have expired and that they have no obligation to help those who need help. No obligation? Seriously, how can they actually say that?
I have been told that Father Gibson is a sick man. No kidding, you really think I haven’t known that for years! They want me to feel sorry for him because he allegedly suffers from dementia. Perhaps the gods are prepping him for his special place in hell. I feel nothing for him, no sympathy, no compassion, no need for revenge. My anger is solely reserved for those who knew what was happening and did nothing. They are the true enablers of evil and they are hiding behind roman collars and the good intentions of parishioners who have chosen to remain blind.
The church is dying. The pope recently lifted the ex-communications of priests who actively deny the holocaust and spout antisemetic statements as vile as any skinhead. Gutsy move for a pope of German lineage! I wonder if that apple did not fall far from the family tree. The only way to save Catholicism from the fools that currently run the church in Rome and in Dioceses around the world is for the laity to take a more active role, allow for the ordination of women and allow priests to marry.
How many more children and vulnerable adults will be sacrificed on the altar of religious power and influence before the laws of this country are modified to enable victims to have their day in court and to see justice done? One more is too many.