Monday, August 27, 2018
YOUNGSTOWN — The Most Rev. George Murry, bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Youngstown, wrote he was “thoroughly appalled, disgusted and angry” over sexual abuse allegations against former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.
McCarrick resigned in late July after decades-old sexual abuse allegations were found to be credible. Area religious leaders read a letter from Murry at all parishes last weekend which calls for ministers and others in the diocese to come forward about sexual abuse, according to Monsignor John Zuraw.
“The vast majority of priests are men of faith in God and dedication to the Gospel,” the letter reads. “You and I trust those men with good reason but some of them have betrayed that trust in ways that are sickening and difficult to speak about in public. This betrayal is sinful, it is evil, and it is a crime where minors are involved.
“I am very sorry that the church has failed to act aggressively to eliminate this evil.”
Murry urged Catholic priests, bishops or lay people who have committed sexual abuse to “immediately resign” from the ministry and said ministers who failed to act on or covered up reports of sexual abuse in the church “should be removed from office.”
Murry also advocated to establish a “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” wherein sexual abuse witnesses may tell their stories and perpetrators could “give testimony and request forgiveness.”
“Only after we, as laity and clergy, courageously confront the truth of the cause of this scourge, whatever it may be, can we begin to reconcile and heal the victims of our wounded church,” Murry wrote.
In 2016, the diocese reached a $900,000 settlement with 28 former Warren JFK High School students who alleged former Franciscan friar Brother Stephen Baker sexually abused them while working at the school from 1986 to 1991.
Baker committed suicide in 2013, shortly after the first alleged victims came forward.