The Archdiocese of Washington D.C. has released the names of 31 members of the clergy who were “credibly accused” of abusing minors within the last 70 years.
Earlier this month Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Cardinal Donald Wuerl, who served for 12 years as the archbishop of Washington. Wuerl is accused of mishandling several cases of sexual abuse committed by members of the clergy.
In August, I wrote about a massive grand jury report out of Pennsylvania where more than 300 clergy members in six of the eight state’s archdioceses abused well over 1,000 minors in the last 70 years. Wuerl served as bishop of Pittsburgh from 1988 to 2006.
In May, 2006, Pope Benedict appointed Wuerl to be the Archbishop of Washington. During his service in Pennsylvania and Washington, Wuerl gained a lot of respect as a dependable, honest member of the clergy, but the grand jury report from Pennsylvania revealed details about his erratic handling of sexual abuse cases among the clergy. After the report’s release, public outcry for Wuerl’s resignation quickly grew.
None of the 31 clergy members named by the Archdiocese of Washington are currently active in the ministry. Eighteen of them were arrested, but the other 13 never were.
Wuerl included this list of names in a letter he sent to clergy, and said that this move was “a necessary step toward full transparency and accountability and the process of healing.” The 31 names include 28 clergy members and three priests. Only fourteen of the 31 men named are still alive.
It sure is convenient of Wuerl to desire transparency and accountability now, decades later. I mean, what more proof do you need of the church’s lack of divine influence than that? If God was really calling the shots, then what the hell would he be doing having these monsters representing him here on Earth?
According to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, there are 196 dioceses or archdioceses in the United States. I wrote recently about several other U.S. states that are conducting investigations similar to the one that resulted in the Pennsylvania grand jury report.
In last week's story about the Justice Department's investigation into the Pennsylvania church scandal, I wrote about Peter Isely, an advocate for victims of sexual abuse. He was quoted by reporters pondering, "Imagine if they did what was done in Pennsylvania, but nationwide.”
Yes, imagine that. Just six archdioceses in Pennsylvania revealed 70 years of abuse carried out on more than 1,000 minors by just 300 priests. If the numbers from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops are correct, then by simple math we are looking at well over 30,000 victims from just the Catholic Church in the U.S. in the last several decades.
Of course, these kinds of incidents are not isolated to the Catholic Church. So just add this to the list of reasons why religious institutions are dangerous.