The Most Comprehensive Indictment Yet of Priestly Sex Abuse: the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report

The Reaction of the Vatican Itself

And what was the Vatican’s response to the Pennsylvania grand jury report?  Predictably, it was precisely the same as that of the U.S. Roman Catholic bishops.  It was to react with expressions of horror and shame.  But we say again: as for the genuineness of these expressions, that is another matter entirely.

The Vatican press office director, Greg Burke, issued a statement two days after the report was released.  He stated that two words came to mind: “sorrow” and “shame.”  “The Holy See treats with great seriousness the work of the Investigating Grand Jury of Pennsylvania and the lengthy Interim Report it has produced.  The Holy See condemns unequivocally the sexual abuse of minors.  The abuses described in the report are criminal and morally reprehensible.  Those acts were betrayals of trust that robbed survivors of their dignity and their faith.  The Church must learn hard lessons from its past, and there should be accountability for both abusers and those who permitted abuse to occur.”[9]  All very nice-sounding.  All exactly what anyone would expect the Vatican’s response to be… officially, for public consumption.  How else could it possibly respond?

Then came these words: “Most of the discussion in the report concerns abuses before the early 2000s.  By finding almost no cases after 2002, the Grand Jury’s conclusions are consistent with previous studies showing that Catholic Church reforms in the United States drastically reduced the incidence of clergy child abuse.  The Holy See encourages continued reform and vigilance at all levels of the Catholic Church, to help ensure the protection of minors and vulnerable adults from harm.  The Holy See also wants to underscore the need to comply with the civil law, including mandatory child abuse reporting requirements.”[10]

First point: all that Rome’s “reforms” have done is to push the problem deeper underground.  Predator priests will always be found within the system, for its devilish doctrine of enforced celibacy has not been altered, and the priesthood has always, and will always, attract predators, who will have access to children via the confessional and other means.  Therefore, even if for the present it appears as if there are now fewer cases of priestly sexual abuse, this is either because priests are being extremely careful for now, knowing the eyes of the world are upon them, or because they are managing to cover up their crimes far more carefully.  But they have not stopped.  They cannot stop.  The Romish system, by its doctrines and practices, encourages such sins.  It does nothing to prevent them.

Second point: complying with the civil law has never been Rome’s priority, and never will be, because it believes itself to be above all laws of all countries.  It does not have to obey any law if this stands in its way.

Third point: it will never fully comply with mandatory child abuse reporting requirements, because its doctrine of auricular confession means that anything revealed to the priest in the confessional can never be revealed to anyone else.  Never.  Therefore, if a predator-priest reveals his crime in the confessional, the priest to whom he revealed it will never give him up.