The Pennsylvania grand jury report on six dioceses in Pennsylvania will attract the prurient interest of the public, much to the delight of the media. But when the dust settles, what counts are the facts.
The media are saying that the report will name “more than 300 predator priests.” Not true.
- Many of those named are not priests: the list includes lay persons, deacons, and seminarians.
- Many—perhaps a majority—are dead, and cannot rebut the accusations.
- Even among the living, most have not had an opportunity to rebut the accusations.
- In most cases there has been no attempt by the dioceses, or the grand jury, to verify the accusations. That is what happens when an investigation extends back to World War II.
Catholics want the guilty to pay, but any fair-minded person also wants due process for the accused. In this crazed #MeToo environment, that is not easy, and this is doubly true when the accused are Catholic priests.
Those awaiting a grand jury report on the sexual abuse of minors in the public schools, or among the clergy of other religions, shouldn’t hold their breath. It will never happen.
This is akin to doing an investigation of crime in low-income minority neighborhoods, allowing white-collar crimes committed in the suburbs to go scot-free, and then concluding non-whites to be criminally prone. It is a scam.
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