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Bishop Of Pittsburgh Says He Will Publicly Out Predator Priests

REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

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Joshua Gill Religion Reporter

A Roman Catholic bishop in Pennsylvania announced he will publicly identify Pittsburgh priests accused of child sexual abuse once a grand jury abuse report is published.

Bishop David Zubik of the Diocese of Pittsburgh made the announcement via a letter read at every Catholic Mass on Saturday and Sunday. Zubik said that, although most of the incidents of alleged child sexual abuse in Pittsburgh mentioned in the grand jury report took place before 1990, he will release the names of those accused to further strengthen the trust of Catholic faithful in diocesan leadership.

“It is my hope that doing so will further strengthen the trust that you, the faithful, have placed in our diocese and in the ministry of our priests and deacons,” Zubik said, according to The Associated Press.

Zubik’s decision to release the names of accused priests follows similar moves from the diocesan bishops of Erie and Harrisburg, who published the list of priests accused of sexual abuse in their dioceses ahead of the release of the grand jury report on child sexual abuse. The 900-page grand jury report, which encompasses a period of 70 years in six Pennsylvania dioceses and which took two years to compile, covers cases of alleged clergy abuse of children, failure to report those allegations, and some cases of obstruction of justice by church officials.

The release of the report has been stalled by challenges from various priests mentioned in the report who claim that releasing it as is would violate Pennsylvania’s constitution. They have demanded that they be allowed to present their own testimonies before the grand jury and that the report be altered to reflect their testimonies. (RELATED: Pennsylvania Attorney General Slams Clergy For Trying to Stall Court’s Release Of Sex Abuse Report)

The court has ruled, however, that a version of the report with some of the names blacked out can be made public in a matter of days.

As for Zubik, he noted that one of the reasons there has not been a reported case of child sexual abuse in his diocese for over 30 years is because the church has followed rigorous vetting policies for hiring new staff and clergy and has also adhered to strict reporting procedure. He also urged Catholic faithful to “stay close to God in prayer” once the grand jury report is released, as it will likely test their faith.

Zubik called the report “a sad and tragic description of events that occurred within the Church.”

He called on parishioners to pray for “the vast majority of priests and deacons who bear the shame and the pain of the worst deeds of their peers.”

Zubik’s diocese is also not one of the dioceses whose priests have tried to block the report.

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