Saturday, August 18, 2018
A Pennsylvania bishop named in a grand jury report on rampant sexual abuse by Roman Catholic clergy said Friday he has “profound remorse” and offers his “heartfelt apology” to the victims.
Speaking at a Mass of forgiveness, Harrisburg Bishop Ronald Gainer opened by reading the first paragraph of this week’s stunning report that said more than 300 predator priests had abused more than 1,000 children in six Pennsylvania dioceses. Forty-five of the priests named in the report served in the Harrisburg diocese.
The first paragraph of the nearly 900-page report said the grand jury knows the truth: that child sex abuse within the Catholic church happened everywhere.
“In the name of our global church, I voice again my heartfelt sorrow and sincere apology to all survivors of clergy sexual abuse,” Gainer said.
While acknowledging the church is faced with a “spiritual crisis,” Gainer said most of the abuse happened long ago.
The grand jury report criticized Gainer for failing to advocate the defrocking of an abusive priest. The diocese defended Gainer, saying he took swift action against that priest and another abusive priest after becoming bishop in 2014.
In early August, the diocese released the names of 71 priests and other members of the church who had been accused of child sex abuse and said it was holding accountable all Harrisburg bishops of the last 70 years, announcing their names would be stripped from church properties.