We Are Church International joins Catholics and other people around the world in its horror at the revelations in the recently released Grand Jury report on clergy sexual abuse and cover up in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. We express our solidarity with the victims, survivors, and their families in their quest for justice and consolation. We call on the leaders of our Church to ensure that its response to this report is humble acceptance of the Grand Jury’s recommendations, and, at long last, to take the steps needed to demonstrate that they are committed to atoning for the grievous harm that has been done, and to creating more transparent and accountable structures.
Specifically, We Are Church International calls on Catholic leadership to:
- Open all files regarding sexual abuse at the Vatican, national bishops’ conference, and diocesan levels to review bypeople with expertise in analyzing them
- Remove all bishops who reassigned sexually abusivepriests from their leadershippositions and ensure that future bishops have never facilitated abuse
- Immediately cease efforts to block the lengthening or eradication of statutes of limitations on sexual abuse of minors
- Provide payment for counseling and financial compensation to anyone bringing forth any allegation(s) of sexual abuse by church staff that is deemed credible by an independent panel of expert reviewers
- Develop a process of public reconciliation, based on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa, where victims and survivors of abuse can speak out to church leaders
- Ensure that anyone still eligible for criminal prosecution of abuse or obstruction of justice is made available to civil authorities
- Develop panels of laity to review and respond to all complaints of sexual abuse
- Make individual apologies to every victim and affected family
Only by dismantling the systems that facilitated this abuse and cover up for so long will Church officials be able to begin to demonstrate that they are serious about repentance and ensuring that children remain safe and whole.
We Are Church International recommits ourselves to stand with the survivors of clergy sexual abuse, and to working for the justice they so clearly deserve.
We Are Church International (WAC-I) founded in Rome in 1996, is a global coalition of national church reform groups. It is committed to the renewal of the Roman Catholic Church based on the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) and the theological spirit developed from it.