The Reports, being released today.
The bishops are holding a news conference as we speak (about 9:40), but none of the cable news channels are carrying it, and we don't get EWTN anymore, so...I'm in the dark on that. If anyone has been able to see any of it and would like to post, please feel free.
Two long-awaited studies have found that the Roman Catholic Church suffered an epidemic of child sexual abuse that involved at least 4 percent of priests over 52 years and peaked with the ordination class of 1970, in which one of every 10 priests was eventually accused of abuse
Stop there and ponder that for a moment.
The other report, on the causes and context of the crisis, was written by a team of prominent Catholic lawyers, judges, businesspeople and other professionals whom the bishops had appointed to a national review board.
They reached their conclusions after interviewing 85 bishops and cardinals, Vatican officials, experts and a handful of victims, and after seeing the data from the John Jay researchers. Those interviewed were promised that their comments would not be attributed, which resulted in great candor, the report said.
Their report, 145 pages and covered in purple to signify atonement, dissects the culture in Catholic seminaries and chanceries that they say tolerated moral laxity and a gay subculture. They make recommendations for reform, but no judgments on whether church doctrine or rules need to be changed.
Both reports are highly critical of the bishops and church officials, and the Review Board's report singles out a few by name. Among them are Cardinal Bernard F. Law, who resigned his post as archbishop of Boston as a result of the scandal; Cardinal Edward M. Egan of New York for failing in his former post as bishop of Bridgeport, Conn., to remove a priest with a developing pattern of accusations; and Cardinal Roger M. Mahony of Los Angeles for resisting grand jury subpoenas that sought church files on accused priests.
The review board's report on the causes of the crisis said that board members could not find a single expression of outrage in church correspondence from a supervising bishop about any priest that the bishops knew had been accused of abuse.
And then this, which is about all you need to know:
The John Jay researchers found that only 14 percent of the priests accused of abuse were reported to the police by their bishops. The rest were never reported, never investigated. Ninety-five percent were never charged with a crime. Of the 217 priests charged, 138 were convicted.
And before we discuss, remember this: These reports are based on self-reporting by dioceses. The researchers did not go through files - they depend on what the bishops gave them.