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Image: Judith with the Head of Holofernes by Cristofano Allori, 1613 [Royal Trust Collection, London]

By Stephen P. White, The Catholic Thing, Jan. 12, 2023

Stephen P. White is executive director of The Catholic Project at The Catholic University of America and a fellow in Catholic Studies at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

In August 2018, the Attorney General of Pennsylvania released a Grand Jury report on clergy sexual abuse cases in most of the Commonwealth’s Catholic dioceses. It was not the first report of its kind. In fact, a similar report covering the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown had been published several years prior. But the 2018 report came just weeks after bombshell revelations about Theodore McCarrick and the Church’s abject failure to deal with the then-Cardinal’s decades of predation.

Detailing decades of allegations by more than 1,000 victims against more than 300 alleged abusers across six dioceses, the PA Grand Jury Report dumped a tanker-load of fuel onto what was already a raging fire. The ensuing conflagration ripped through the Catholic Church in the United States creating institutional and ecclesial damage with which the Church here in the US and globally will be dealing with for a generation and more. …

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