Catholics at Novena Say Church Abuse Report Should be Released

SCRANTON, Pa. -- At St. Ann's Basilica in west Scranton, the faithful make their annual pilgrimage to participate in the weeklong novena.

This religious service comes as the state attorney general is attempting to release an 800-page grand jury report that details decades of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

But that's currently being denied by a Pennsylvania Supreme Court order after a group of unnamed individuals petitioned to keep it under wraps.

People at the novena say the report needs to come out.

“It pains me as a Catholic, and I think that to be forthcoming about the abuses is going to help everyone in the end and the healing process,” said Kristen Lemoncelli from Peckville. “So I just hope for the best for all families and victims involved.”

“You want the truth to come out and what's right, should be brought to the surface and justice should be done then to help the victims,” said Joanne Simmens from Moscow.

The report on the alleged abuse and cover-ups looked at six dioceses in Pennsylvania, including Scranton, Allentown, and Harrisburg.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro is fighting that Supreme Court order, hoping to get the report out in the open.

Many at St. Ann's Basilica say with the sex abuse scandal rocking the Catholic Church so long, it will take something jarring to fix, but one thing that has not been shaken is their faith.

“Certainly doesn't take us away from our faith and our belief in God, most importantly and that's something that God wouldn't want,” said Anitra McShea from Mountain Top.

Last week the Diocese of Allentown said it was sending 80,000 letters to Catholic households, explaining it has done nothing to block the release of the report and wants it made public.

“You can't make changes unless you know what you're facing,” said Ed Lucy from Scranton. “I think the bishop understands that, the pope understands that. If you want to make things better you've got to face your problems.”

Last month, Bishop Joseph Bambera of the Diocese of Scranton issued a statement saying, "While difficult to face, this is the only way for us to move forward in a more positive way as we learn from the past."

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