Young Catholics Demand ‘Clear Action’ From US Bishops, Urge Investigation Of McCarrick’s Associates

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Joshua Gill Religion Reporter
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Young Catholics have urged U.S. bishops to conduct an independent investigation into which clerics knew of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s alleged sexual abuses of young men.

The group of young Catholics made their appeal in an open letter, first published online in First Things, calling not only for the independent investigation into who among church hierarchy knew of McCarrick’s abuses and whether they did anything to stop it, but also “formal acts of public penance and reparation.” The group declared that they would publicly name any cleric who perpetrated abuse or who knew of abuse and did nothing to stop it and would also encourage victims to come forward with testimony. (RELATED: Atlanta Archbishop Scolds Church Leadership, Says ‘Cloud Of Shame’ Hangs Over Church Because Of Sexual Abuse)

“We ask that the silence surrounding sexual impropriety in the Church be broken. We ask that bishops take clear action when priests flout the Church’s sexual teaching and that networks of sexually active priests be rooted out. We ask that good priests be given the freedom to tell their bishops what they know, without fear of reprisal. Along with these actions, we ask that bishops engage in formal acts of public penance and reparation,” the letter reads.

The authors of the letter also committed to speak out whenever they hear of sexual assaults in the church and to work to protect priests and seminarians “who are threatened when they refuse to condone the sins of their fellow clerics, or when they speak out about them.”

The group said they were “scandalized” by the fact that Pope Francis reportedly appointed certain bishops and Cardinals to senior positions in the church based on counsel from McCarrick. They expressed anger over McCarrick and the “credible and substantiated” allegations against him as well as reports of networks of sexually active priests who threaten and coerce their subordinates and colleagues to join them in their deviant activities and to keep silent about it.

“We believe that just as there is no room for adultery in marriages, so there is no room for adultery against the Bride of Christ. We need bishops to make clear that any act of sexual abuse or clerical unchastity degrades the priesthood and gravely harms the Church,” their letter reads.

“You are the shepherds of the Church. If you do not act, evil will go unchecked,” they added.

The authors of the letter describe themselves as all having been children in the decades leading up to the sexual abuse crisis that began in 2002.

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