Catholic Community Reacts to Looming Grand Jury Report

WRIGHT TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- At St. Jude Parish in Mountain Top, the parking lot was full for Sunday Mass.

Looming in the not too distant future: the release of a grand jury report on clergy sex abuse which identifies more than 300 Catholic priests across Pennsylvania.

According to the state Supreme Court, the sex abuse goes back decades. Details of statewide cover-ups in Catholic churches will be made public but not the names of some of the priests.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro was in Wyoming County on Friday and recently asked Pope Francis to step in, take action, and demand that the names of those priests be made public.

"Very respectfully called on him to take action to stop these Catholic Church leaders from silencing these abuse victims any longer," Shapiro said. "He obviously has a critically important role to play here and I hope that he engages on behalf of these victims as he's done across the globe in the way that he has."

Parishioners who did not want to go on camera tell Newswatch 16 they want these issues to be resolved immediately for clarity. Another worshiper added that just because more than 300 priests may be involved in the report, that doesn't mean that all priests are bad people.

While church members say they feel bad for the alleged victims, some are fine with the names of the priests not being released yet. They'd like to see the legal process play out.

"I think that the priests should be allowed to have due process just like any other criminal," Maryann Mengak of Mountain Top said.  "So I don't think their names should be released at this time. I don't think (the victims) are being ignored. I think it's just letting the legal process run its course."

The Catholic Diocese of Scranton has been named in the report. In a statement the Diocese said:

"The contents of the report will be painful, but it is necessary for the report to be released in order for us to learn from it and to continue in our efforts to be responsive to victims and to create safe environments for our children."

7 comments

  • My Foot

    If releasing their names prevents the next child from being abused, than , Release Them ! …..,Publish them on the Front Page !!!!! Send notices to each Parish !! …..Protect the children, for Gods sake !

  • jimbrony

    Over 300 in PA, but not all of them are bad? Well folks, for the uninitiated I did the math for you: That’s over 4 per county. I don’t know about you, but those numbers are too high if I had children or grandchildren in their charge.

  • beekeeper

    “I think that the priests should be allowed to have due process just like any other criminal,” Maryann Mengak of Mountain Top said. “So I don’t think their names should be released at this time”

    Huh? I read the names of the accused in the news all the time, as soon as they’re accused. What rock are these people living under?

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