Archdiocese releases clergy abuse statistics

Approximately seven percent of archdiocesan priests serving during the period of 1950 to 2003 had an allegation of sexual abuse made against them, according to a review conducted by the Archdiocese of Boston of the record of clergy sexual abuse. The report was made public Feb. 26.

Prior to the Feb. 27 release of the national John Jay Report on the scope of the abuse, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) asked each diocese to publish its own individual abuse statistics in keeping with the Church’s commitment to transparency and openness. The report by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, which was commissioned by the USCCB, does not report statistics for individual dioceses. The results of a study on the causes of the abuse crisis that erupted in the past two years were also released Feb. 27.  

“Since neither of these two national studies will give specifics on any particular dioceses, it is important that we make public to the members of the Church of the Archdiocese of Boston, as well as the wider community, the scope of the issue of sexual abuse of children by clergy in the Archdiocese of Boston that has come to light over the past two years by making public the numbers and statistics relative to the issue from 1950-2003,” said Archbishop Seán P. O’Malley in a statement accompanying the report.

Archbishop O’Malley commended the USCCB for commissioning the studies, which he said aids not only the Church but society at large in preventing sexual abuse of children.

“Unless and until the scope, causes and context of the sexual abuse of children by clergy are understood in all their devastating detail, attempts to address it will remain insufficient,” he stated.  The studies “demonstrate that the Church is finally and unflinchingly committed to facing this scandal head on and doing all in our power to prevent anything like it from ever happening again,” the archbishop continued.

Archbishop O’Malley apologized to victims and their families and pledged to continue the archdiocese’s work of abuse prevention and healing.

“While progress has been made, more needs to be done. The Archdiocese is committed to doing everything humanly possible in order to ensure that this never happens again,” he said in the statement. “As Archbishop of Boston, I make that commitment once again, on behalf of myself and on behalf of the Church of Boston.”

According to the report, 2,324 archdiocesan priests served in active ministry from 1950 to 2003. Of that number, 162 were accused of sexually abusing a minor — approximately seven percent.

Father Christopher Coyne, spokesman for the archdiocese, put that number in the context of other dioceses in the United States when he described the archdiocesan percentage as “high.”

“We’re high ... 50 percent higher than where many other dioceses are,” he said.

The archbishop’s statement called the numbers “truly horrific” but said that “they are also telling both in terms of extent of the problem and the time frame in which the magnitude of the problem became known.”

Although 162 priests were accused of abuse, “it does not mean that a determination criminally, civilly or canonically, has been made regarding the truth or non-truth of the allegation,” according to the report. Names of accused priests were not included in the report.

A breakdown of the 162 priests accused of misconduct reveals that 59 were ordained between 1960 and 1969, eight were ordained between 1980 and 2003, and 58 are deceased.

The vast majority of allegations involve incidents that are alleged to have occurred within the period from 1965 to 1982, the archdiocese states in the report. “The number of allegations involving sexual abuse during the period from 1983 through 2003 shows a substantial decline in comparison to the prior periods.”

The data “shows that from 1980 on we had started to put a lot of things in place to deal with the issue,” said Father Coyne. “The archdiocese had made great strides in reducing the number of abusive priests.”

In his statement, the archbishop said that he takes “some consolation” from the drop in the number of incidents of abuse in the past 20 years that have been reported to the archdiocese.  However, he stated that “one incident is too many, one child hurt too much.”

“We must all do everything that we can to make sure that the scourge of child abuse not only within the Church but in the wider society as well is wiped clean from our midst,” Archbishop O’Malley continued in his statement.

During the 53 years covered by the report, 815 people accused an archdiocesan priest of abuse though more than half of the victims were allegedly abused by only seven priests. The majority of accused priests, 89, had only one victim, 46 had between two and five victims, 15 victimized between six and 10 people, and 12 priests had 11 or more victims.

Father Coyne said it was regrettable that more was not done to identify and stop the most egregious offenders earlier.

“The numbers indicate that if we had removed those men earlier we would have been able to prevent abuse against many children,” he stated. “In hindsight that would have been best, but that’s not what happened,” he continued.

The report states that the majority of accusations of abuse by clergy were reported to the Archdiocese of Boston between January 2002 and December 2003, a time period during which there was intense media coverage of the clergy abuse crisis.

Through December 2003, the archdiocese paid $120.6 million to settle abuse claims, according to the report. The amount reimbursed by their insurance companies during that time was $22.3 million.

The report also states that during the 1950-2003 period, three deacons, 10 priests from outside the archdiocese and 44 religious order priests were accused of sexual abuse. In total, they victimized 150 people. According to the report, it was not possible present this number as a percentage of those serving in the archdiocese because there is “no way of knowing with accuracy” the number of visiting priests and religious order priests working in the archdiocese during the 53 years studied.

While the report clearly shows a drop in the number of reported incidents of clergy abuse, Father Coyne said that the archdiocese stands firm in its commitment to preventing further abuse in the future.

“There still is a problem,” Father Coyne stated. “No one is ignoring that, but the fact that the archdiocese has made such great strides should give some peace of mind [to the people of Boston] that the issue is not as acute in any way as it once was.”

Nation
Retired Green Bay auxiliary bishop failed to report abuse, withdraws from ministry

Green Bay, Wis., Sep 20, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- Bishop Robert Morneau, Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of Green Bay, has withdrawn from public ministry saying ...

Nation
Dolan 'impatient' waiting for apostolic visitation in response to McCarrick

New York City, N.Y., Sep 20, 2018 CNA.- The Archbishop of New York said Thursday that while he has confidence in the way Pope Francis is handling the ...

World
Two more Chilean bishops step down in wake of abuse crisis

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis accepted the resignations of two more Chilean bishops, bringing to seven the number of bishops who have stepped down ...

Local
Celebration of the Priesthood dinner raises over $1.8 million

BOSTON -- A record 1,700 people attended the 10th annual Celebration of the Priesthood dinner to raise funds for the Clergy Health and Retirement Trust ...

Local
Lawrence parish helps community cope with gas explosion aftermath

LAWRENCE -- Volunteers at St. Patrick Church's Cor Unum Meal Center were serving dinner when multiple natural gas explosions and fires broke out in homes ...

Local
Ceremony, Mass kick off St. Augustine Chapel bicentennial

SOUTH BOSTON -- St. Augustine Chapel and Cemetery began its year-long bicentennial celebration on the weekend of Sept. 14-16 with tours, special Masses, ...

Local
Mass. Knights install new officers

The Massachusetts State Council Knights of Columbus recently held its Installation of State Officers at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Canton with ...

Local
Deal will keep Sancta Maria Nursing Facility open

CAMBRIDGE -- Sancta Maria Nursing Facility announced Sept. 17 that it has negotiated a comprehensive operational contract with Advocate Healthcare Management ...

Local
From Cardinal Seán's blog

As I mentioned in my preface to last week's blog, this week and last, I have been in Rome for meetings related to the work of the Pontifical Commission ...

Nation
N.Y. Archdiocese names judge as independent reviewer on abuse protocols

NEW YORK (CNS) -- New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan has named a former federal judge to study archdiocesan policies and procedures with respect to sexual ...

Nation
U.S. reports poverty declines, but agencies finding needs remain great

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The good news from the U.S. Census Bureau Sept. 12 was that the poverty rate dropped for the third straight year in 2017 and median ...

Nation
Class-action lawsuit filed against eight Pennsylvania dioceses

PITTSBURGH (CNS) -- A class-action lawsuit was filed Sept. 17 against eight Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania demanding the dioceses provide proof that ...

World
Apostolic visitor outlines plans for expansion at Medjugorje shrine

WARSAW, Poland (CNS) -- The Polish archbishop tasked with overseeing Bosnia-Herzegovina's Medjugorje shrine has outlined plans for expansion, including ...

World
Pope names administrator as Indian bishop investigated for alleged rape

MUMBAI, India (CNS) -- Pope Francis has accepted the request of an Indian bishop accused of raping a nun to be relieved of his duties during the investigation. In ...

World
In letters to German cardinal, retired pope defends way he stepped down

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Retired Pope Benedict XVI expressed his displeasure with the way a German cardinal publicly criticized his stepping down as pontiff, ...

Nation
Thousands of Hispanics expected in Texas for Encuentro summit

Fort Worth, Texas, Sep 20, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- As many as 3,000 Catholics of Hispanic background are expected in Texas this week for the National V Encuentro, ...

Nation
Church plans third-party abuse reporting system, code of conduct

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pledging to "heal and protect with every bit of the strength God provides us," the U.S. bishops' Administrative Committee Sept. 19 ...

World
Be grateful to parents, never insult them, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Honoring mothers and fathers means being grateful for the gift of life and Christians should never insult anyone's parents, Pope ...

World
Canadian cardinal: Women should help screen, train priest applicants

Poznan, Poland, Sep 18, 2018 CNA.- Increasing the role of women in screening and training priests is among the steps that should be taken to prevent future ...

World
Vatican delegation will travel to China this month to finalize agreement, Chinese newspaper reports

Beijing, China, Sep 18, 2018 CNA.- A newspaper tied to the Chinese Communist Party reported Tuesday that a delegation of Vatican officials will head to ...

World
Media reporting Vatican-China agreement could be signed in late September

HONG KONG (CNS) -- The long-awaited Sino-Vatican agreement on the nomination of bishops is expected to be signed in September, reported several media ...

World
Update: Irish singer Bono calls pope 'extraordinary man for extraordinary times'

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Bono, the lead singer of the Irish band U2, said he told Pope Francis that in Ireland "it looks as though the abusers are being ...

World
Cardinal Marx says mistakes were made, calls for change in German church

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, head of the German bishops' conference, admitted that mistakes were made in the German church's handling of sex abuse of minors ...

Nation
Church crisis response: Healing Masses, listening sessions, fasting

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- In response to the sexual abuse crisis in the church, Catholics are praying for victims, talking about their frustration and anger, ...

Nation
Pope names Minnesota priest as auxiliary bishop of Hartford

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pope Francis has appointed Father Juan M. Betancourt, a priest in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, as auxiliary bishop ...

World
Listening church: Pope gives new vision for Synod of Bishops

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Synod of Bishops increasingly should be a structure for listening to the Catholic faithful, demonstrating a local bishop's concern ...

Nation
Director of Courage releases letter on Penn. abuse report

Washington D.C., Sep 17, 2018 CNA.- Courage International, an apostolate to support people with same sex-attraction in leading chaste lives, has issued ...

Nation
Richmond bishop apologizes to victims; commits to opening, reviewing files

RICHMOND, Va. (CNS) -- In celebrating the Diocese of Richmond's first Mass of Atonement for victims of abuse Sept. 14, Bishop Barry C. Knestout apologized ...

Nation
Advocates decry historically low cap for refugee entry in 2019

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Advocates for refugee admissions into the United States decried what one statement called a historically low cap of 30,000 for fiscal ...

Nation
Stanford University to remove saint's name from some properties

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- California's Stanford University will strip the name of 18th-century Franciscan friar, St. Junipero Serra, from some of its properties ...

Nation
Catholic Charities distributes disaster relief to areas hit by Florence

RALEIGH, N.C. (CNS) -- The Carolinas were hard hit with record rainfall and flooding rivers from tropical storm Florence since it made landfall Sept. ...

Nation
Archbishop Lori assures diocese he's with them in journey toward healing

WHEELING, W.Va. (CNS) -- In his celebration of Mass at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Wheeling Sept. 15, Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore said ...

World
Bishop takes a (sky) dive to get pilgrims to Lourdes

HOVE, England (CNS) -- "The Moth has landed," tweeted the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton. The tweet Sept. 14 and a similar post on the diocesan Facebook ...

World
Words, promises are not enough to prevent abuse, archbishop says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Inviting presidents of the world's bishops' conference to the Vatican to discuss abuse prevention reflects an understanding that ...

World
Pope praises Capuchin order's charism of authenticity, simplicity

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Capuchins are called to be men of peace, reconciliation and prayer and to be close to all people, Pope Francis told members of the ...

Nation
Path to healing starts with seeking forgiveness, Cardinal Wuerl says

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- A "Season of Healing" for sexual abuse survivors began in the Archdiocese of Washington with a Sept. 14 Mass at the Cathedral of St. ...

World
Archbishop McCarrick's unofficial role in Vatican-China relations

Vatican City, Sep 17, 2018 CNA.- Following reports that the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China could be about to sign an agreement ...

Nation
Archbishop Chaput: When we forget faith, we forget our humanity

Spokane, Wash., Sep 14, 2018 CNA.- When man tries to cling to reason and separate himself from faith, he forgets who he is and loses his source of hope, ...

World
Pope Francis warns priests against living a double life

Palermo, Italy, Sep 15, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- During a day trip to Sicily Saturday, Pope Francis told priests and religious to fight their vices and strive ...

World
What is the pontifical secret?

Vatican City, Sep 14, 2018 CNA.- Following the allegations made by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò about the case of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, ...

World
Catholic workers say U.S. aid cuts to Palestinians could be disastrous

JERUSALEM (CNS) -- The U.S. budgetary cuts to humanitarian aid institutions helping Palestinians could lead to long-term disastrous consequences, said ...

World
Vatican publishes list of synod participants, including papal nominees

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- To the list of members of the Synod of Bishops elected by national bishops' conferences, Pope Francis added cardinals from 14 countries, ...