Originally, we had high hopes when Bishop Joseph Galante became Camden’s bishop. Those hopes have largely been dashed.
While an auxiliary bishop in Texas, Bishop Galante publicly challenged a corrupt colleague, Bishop Charles Grahmann, about his mishandling of a child sex case against a Dallas cleric. Such “fraternal correction” has been sorely lacking through the course of the clergy abuse crisis throughout the church. We praised Bishop Galante for his courage.
But he has done little while in Camden to change the disturbing status quo regarding clergy sex crimes and cover ups. Some 30 US bishops have posted on their websites the names of predator priests. Bishop Galante, however, is not one of them. He’s basically done little or nothing in recent years to distinguish himself from the majority of his peers who continue to act recklessly, secretively and callously in child sex cases.
We hope his successor will show more courage and compassion. We hope he’ll post the names, photos and whereabouts of proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting clerics on his website (like Philadelphia’s then-Cardinal Justin Rigali has done). We hope he’ll aggressively seek out others who may have seen, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes in Camden. We hope he’ll especially warn parishioners and the public about
-- Fr. Joseph E. Shannon, who was sued a year ago for child sexual abuse, and
--Fr. David Givey of the Philadelphia archdiocese, who now apparently lives in Somers Point NJ. (Bishop Galante has refused to do this.)
Regardless of who replaces Bishop Galante, it’s still crucial that people with knowledge or suspicions about clergy sex crimes continue to report to secular officials, not church officials. That’s the best way to both protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded.