It is a bit of a storm last week, a “perfect” one, the biggest tempest in a few years, in the unfortunate area of priestly sex abuse. There was the Academy Award — an Oscar — for Spotlight, a documentary-like movie about the Boston Globe’s dogged exposure of tremendous and ghastly abuse in that archdiocese, an expose that even the Vatican’s quasi-official newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, praised as a positive service to the public and Church. There was the specter of Cardinal Pell of Australia — now a major Vatican official, overseeing its finances — having to testify under oath about his role as a prelate in dealing with reports of abuse back in his old diocese. At the same time (when it rains it pours!), there was the splash made — the most lurid and disheartening in some time — from Western Pennsylvania, where a grand jury released a report on how two bishops in the Altoona-Johnston diocese covered up hundreds of abuse claims. Elsewhere, others came forward in the wake of the movie and news stories with additional allegations.
No doubt, some of the claims are suspect. But we all know there has been a real crisis (one we rarely comment upon) that started with special earnest in the 1950s and into the 1960s and especially the 1970s. It still shocks. And while rules, regulations, and bureaucratic policies have been put in place to prevent future such horrors, and to take care of current claims, the Church still needs to address a key reason for abuse: a demonic — a satanic — infiltration of the priesthood.
The devil got a foothold into our seminaries and rectories.
To know this is to know that is to read testimony such as that of
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