Photo Coutosy of Wikimedia by James Tourtellotte
April 17, 2019
Holy Sepulcher, Saint Joseph; these two prominent Catholic churches close to our homes have a strong tie to the families in the area, with many of our students here at Knoch being part of their youth seminaries, been previously enrolled in the churches’ schooling, or just members. Recently, though, news of the world wide Catholic Church scandals has rocked their foundations, with it now hitting very close to home.
North Catholic is a private, Catholic high school in Cranberry, previously named after Cardinal Donald Wuerl. Wuerl is the former Bishop of Pittsburgh from 1988 to 2006 and has recently resigned from his position as Archbishop of Washington DC. In board meeting for the school, members announced that they will undergo a permanent name change to just North Catholic since cases involving the Cardinal have come to light.
When a Pennsylvania grand jury report two years in the making was released in August, Wuerl was accused, with plentiful evidence, of knowing about sexual abuse claims against certain priests in his diocese during his time as Bishop of Pittsburgh and continuing to reinstate them into other perishes across the U.S as if to give the priests a “clean slate.”
The way Wuerl was able to perform these cover ups was by having the accused priests go to a therapist, and then, from the reports done by the therapists themselves, Wuerl then determined that they were still “mentally fit” to be put back into the clergy.
Of course, he had denied all claims of doing so with the knowledge of what they had done, but in that same grand jury report, it states that for over 7 decades, there were 300 priests named in the 6 Pennsylvanian diocese alone for either direct sexual abuse or for creating cover ups for those accused, making it nearly impossible for Wuerl to not know what was going on.
More names are to be added to the list soon, but were unable to be released with the rest due to continuing investigation.
Even with the number of the accused clergy being so high, people still don’t know the magnitude of the destruction from these men.
Junior Brady Collins, a member of St. Mary’s Church in Herman has been a member since birth. Being part of the church for 16 years, even he wasn’t aware of the impact.
“I know it’s bad,” said Collins, “but I don’t know the exact severity of it.”
With the actual number of priests being public knowledge and the impact making worldwide news, it’s hard to imagine that it took place so close to our homes here around Saxonburg.
Tim Roos, a junior at North Catholic High School, belongs to Holy Sepulcher Catholic Church and has been a member since birth as well, even going to school there from kindergarten through eighth grade. He wanted to give us an inside look as to what has changed inside his school during this dividing time.
“The news that has been released has been hard for us to deal with knowing that the men who are supposed to be Jesus Christ have acted this way,” said Roos. “But it is a time for us to grow as a church and in the community together.”
The world right now is in overall agreement with Roos on this topic, with Pope Francis even saying: “We have delayed in applying these actions and sanctions that are so necessary, yet I am confident that we will help to guarantee a greater culture of care in the present and future,” during his speech, the first in history pointed towards all Catholics as a whole about the abuse inside the Church, on his visit to Dublin, Ireland in late August.
Even though we’re not as powerful as the Pope, most people still have hopes for what could change for the better.
“I would just try and appoint more trustworthy people, from top to bottom,” said Collins. “The corruption isn’t just in one spot, it’s the whole way through the church, and even to the Vatican in Rome. I would just want the priests and bishops and cardinals to be upfront and honest with the people.”
The world, being so shaken to its core, can only be made brighter from now on. With such evil lying in what was supposed to be holy places, we might not know where to go, but there is still light.
“If you are confused about what has happened or just want to learn more about Jesus,” said Roos, “I invite you to come to Lifeteen (youth group) and mass. We’d love to have our parish family grow bigger and we can be there for you when the world cannot. God Bless!”