Another Philly priest has apparently been arrested on child sex charges. We are grateful to the brave individual who reported these horrendous crimes to law enforcement. Kids are safest when victims go directly to secular authorities, not church figures. Every person who saw, suspected or suffered misdeeds by this priest should do likewise.
It’s encouraging to see police and prosecutors continue to purse child molesting clerics. The reckless and secretive practices of Philly Catholic officials are deeply-rooted and long-standing. They won’t change quickly.
Starting this weekend, Archbishop Chaput should personally visit every church or school where this priest worked. He should beg victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to step forward. He should ask parishioners to reach out to former church-goers who may have left suddenly. He should remind his flock that helping law enforcement thoroughly investigate this accusation is their moral and civic duty.
Hiding behind his PR staff, staying in his office, deferring to his defense lawyers is not the way to go. That’s tempting, but irresponsible. And it’s what Catholic officials have done for decades.
We hope Chaput will find the courage to be a compassionate shepherd, not a callous CEO. And regardless of what he does, we hope current and former Philly Catholic church employees and members will do what’s right and promptly share anything they know or suspect with police and prosecutors.