Today's post will focus on a few recent stories involving the Catholic Church and its ongoing sexual abuse scandal. Specifically, I will be focusing on a few stories in the United States.
First, we turn to Buffalo, New York, where Bishop Richard J Malone has resigned from his post last week. The Buffalo diocese is facing 200 lawsuits related to abuse and is being investigated by the FBI.
Malone, 73, has been accused of covering up abuse allegations against clergy in his diocese.
In a statement, Malone said, "As you are well aware, we have faced tremendous turmoil over the past year-and-a-half. Some have attributed this to my own shortcomings, but the turmoil also reflects the culmination of systemic failings over many years in the worldwide handling of sexual abuse of minors by members of the clergy."
Right, it is not Malone's fault that he covered up for guilty priests, he was just a victim of the system. Sure...
Buffalo is not the only place in the United States where there are a lot of lawsuits against the Catholic Church. 15 states have passed new laws that suspend or extend the statute of limitations. New York, New Jersey, and California are a just a few of the states to have these new laws. As a result there is a huge number of cases.
The Associated Press found that there could be as many as 5,000 new cases arising against the church with payouts potentially topping $4 BILLION!
Some Catholic dioceses have already had to declare bankruptcy as a result of lawsuits related to sexual abuse. With all these new cases many more dioceses could end up doing the same.
And it is not just Catholic dioceses that are in the news. CNN recently published an in-depth investigation into a Catholic order dedicated to protecting vulnerable children that shielded abusive priests in their ranks.
The order, Salesians of Don Bosco, was formed with the "mission first and foremost to the young, especially to those who are poorer."
CNN found that the order had protected a Belgian priest, who had already been accused of sexual abuse, after he had abused at least two children in the Central African Republic while doing work for the order.
After CNN discovered Father Luk Delft had been abusing children, they learned that the church is sheltering him on a property where they run a summer camp for children. Because that seems like a good place to keep someone guilty of abusing multiple children over the years.
CNN also found that the same Catholic order protected pedophile priests operating at their schools in California. For decades, students were abused as the order moved them from school to school.
The investigation found that students were not just sexually abused, but they were also beaten and threatened if they tried to report their abusers' actions to others. One victim said that a priest "kneed me in the groin as hard as he could. I went down... I just lay on the floor. I couldn’t even breathe."
"I thought I was going to have to go to the hospital. I couldn’t move. It was so bad. And while I was laying there, he said to me, ‘You have a big mouth. I don’t want to see you up here again,’" he continued.
As the Catholic Church continues to drag its feet addressing the systemic problem of sexual abuse within their clergy, at least some states are making it easier for victims to make their voices heard. This story is far from over, and we are likely to learn more about the horrifying abuses that clergy have engaged in over the years.