PHILADELPHIA -- A new grand jury report has reopened for Catholics the raw wound of sexual abuse of children by clergy and personnel in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
While a similar 2005 report detailed hundreds of cases of sexual abuse of children by dozens of clergy over many decades, the new report brings criminal indictments for the first time.
In a statement Feb. 16, Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia addressed the issue of sexual abuse of children squarely, calling it a crime and "always wrong and always evil."
"Many people of faith and in the community at large think that the archdiocese does not understand the gravity of child sexual abuse," he said. "We do. The task before us now is to recognize where we have fallen short and to let our actions speak to our resolve."
His statement, outlining new actions the archdiocese is taking in response to the report, follows three initiatives he announced Feb. 11, a day after Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams held a news conference to release the report by a grand jury investigating alleged abuse.