It landed “like an atom bomb,” stated a national news report from late last week.
Its findings instantly destroyed “the trust between the [Catholic] church’s hierarchy and the people in the pews,” stated one prominent religious scholar.
It was a “moral catastrophe.”
That latter comment was delivered by Catholic Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.
What DiNardo, the other above-cited commentators and legions of additionally shocked individuals are alluding to in the wake of stunning news developments last week is a government report.
We referenced that document in our August 20 blog post. It is a nearly 900-page Pennsylvania grand jury report chronicling in chilling detail the unlawful and unpunished behavior of hundreds of parish priests toward more than 1,000 children for about 70 years.
Concededly, such a story line flatly rocks the Catholic Church, an institution that is already reeling from accusations of mass sexual abuse inflicted by clergy members in parishes across the globe.
Many millions of people across the world will understandably now be watching the church closely for evidence of a strategy that goes beyond official comments of stated regret coupled with subsequent money payments made to victims.
Some voices within the church are actually pushing for the resignation of every active bishop in the United States. Others staunchly endorse the inclusion of women and married males into the priesthood.
“Civil society has lost confidence in us,” says one American Cardinal.
Church officials’ actions going forward will be closely scrutinized for evidence that legitimate attempts are being made to restore institutional faith.