Many Roman Catholics in the United States still believe that priests are sexually abusing children, says a report from a lay advisory group released Wednesday by the nation’s bishops.
The National Review Board said that, a decade after the US Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a child protection charter, there has been a “striking improvement” in the way the Church deals with the abuse of minors by clergy.
“Children are safer now because of the creation of safe environments, and action has been taken to permanently remove offenders from ministry,” said the report, released as the Conference began its annual spring meeting in Atlanta.
But it acknowledged: “Despite solid evidence (to the contrary), many of the faithful believe that sexual abuse by clergy is occurring at high levels and is still being covered up by bishops.”
“This suggests a trust problem that must be met with scrupulous adherence” to the 2002 charter, which instructs dioceses to report alleged child-abuse incidents to civil authorities.
The report was issued a day before jurors in Philadelphia resume deliberations in the trial of Monsignor William Lynn, the highest-ranked US church official to be charged with covering up child molestation.
[AFP Photo/Vincenzo Pinto]