A Professor’s Protest Against a Bishop

SCRANTON, Pa. -- A professor's silent protest against the Diocese of Scranton's bishop is drawing attention from his students and peers.

When Bishop Joseph Bambera of the Diocese of Scranton stood up to speak during the inauguration of the University of Scranton's newest president on Friday, psychology professor Barry Kuhle stood up and turned around.

Bishop Bambera spoke for about three minutes. Kuhle says it felt like forever.

"I mean, I've never done anything like that, so the flood of thoughts through my head about my kids, Wendy, the grand jury report and all its horrific detail," Professor Kuhle said.

Kuhle says the silent protest at the event attended by almost 2,000 people was a statement against the bishop in light of the release of a grand jury report detailing decades of sexual abuse by priests and Catholic Church leaders in Pennsylvania.

Kuhle was raised Jewish in Long Island, New York where he says his younger sister Wendy was abused by a leader at their temple when they were pre-teens. Wendy took her own life in 2007.

"She would have turned 42 that Friday during the inauguration, and I didn't do much then, and I'm tired of doing nothing," said Kuhle.

Kuhle says Catholic leadership, including Bishop Bambera, did not do enough to stop predator priests named last month by the grand jury.

"There's no decision to be made. You dial 911, and he didn't do that. I have two children in CCD now. How can I trust he's going to do the right thing in the future when he didn't do the right thing then? He needs to do the right thing today. He needs to resign."

The Diocese of Scranton issued the following statement in response:

There is no basis to support the call for Bishop Bambera's resignation. The facts don’t support it. He was referenced only tangentially in the grand jury report for cases ultimately decided by his predecessor, Bishop Timlin. During his time as diocesan vicar for clergy, Bishop Bambera fought repeatedly to protect children and punish abusive priests. Since he became Bishop in 2010, the Diocese has notified civil authorities of all accusations of abuse, has immediately and permanently removed from ministry all credibly accused priests and has fully informed the public of all such removals. And his recent decision to ban Bishop Timlin from representing the Diocese of Scranton was one of the first in the country by a sitting bishop. At a time when we need to stand for positive change, Bishop Bambera refuses to turn his back on the faithful of the Diocese.

1 Comment

  • Matt Berns

    If Bambera really wanted to do the right thing, none of those priests would be housed or taken care of by the parishioners .

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