In its continuing crusade to make amends with members miffed about Church officials’ alleged coverup of pedophile priests, the Archdiocese today printed an apology to parishioners in their newspaper.
“We are sorry,” reads the apology in The Catholic Standard & Times. “We, the Church, are sorry for the sexual abuse suffered by our brothers and sisters when they were young people at the hands of the Church’s clergymen and teachers. The Church is sorry for the sins and crimes of some members against other members. The Church begs forgiveness of our brothers and sisters, and of almighty God.”
The unsigned apology exhorted readers to rebuild their trust in the Church by taking to heart the changes officials have enacted since the release of a scathing grand-jury report earlier this month.
In that report, grand jurors blasted church superiors — including former Archbishop Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua — for shielding pervert priests by shuffling them to unsuspecting parishes. Two priests, a defrocked priest and a lay teacher were indicted on rape and related charges, while a monsignor accused of covering up their perversions was charged with endangering the welfare of a child.
Still, today’s apology was tempered by a defensive note.
“The problem of sexual abuse of minors is being addressed, albeit imperfectly, in only one sector of society, the Catholic Church,” the statement reads. “Youth sports organizations, public schools, community groups and other faith communities all report incidents of abuse. (But) few have been forced to look as extensively at the horror of child sexual abuse perpetrated within their organizations or to enact broad policies to prevent it.”
Archdiocesan officials couldn’t immediately be reached for comment about the statement.
But members of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, the Church’s most outspoken critics on the clergy-abuse issue, blasted the apology as “whining.”
“Apologies seem insincere when coupled with gripes that ‘others are bad too,’” said David Clohessy, SNAP’s executive director. “It’s ... another clumsy, insensitive and a bald-faced public relations move to deflect attention and exaggerate the few belated, begrudging and often self-serving steps taken in recent years by a justifiably-criticized church hierarchy.”