No one knows much about the allegation vs. Fr. Valentine, so we must make assumptions. We can assume he's fine, but that may put kids at risk. Or we can assume there's more to this story, and that may help protect kids. So it's clear what the prudent course is - to assume, for now, that we must be careful around Fr. Valentine.
Fr. Valentine is an adult. He can take care of himself. Children, however, can't take care of themselves. They need our help. They need us to be cautious, not complacent. They need us to err, if we must err, on the side of their safety, not on the side of one adult's reputation.
But we needn't just assume. We needn't stop there.
We can also use our voices to push for the truth. Who has more of the truth, and could choose to disclose that truth? Bishop Zubik.
And when do bishops reveal the truth about clergy sex abuse and misconduct accusations? When they're urged to do so by police, prosecutors, parishioners and the public.
That's what we urge St. James parishioners to do and Pittsburgh Catholics to do - lean on Bishop Zubik to be more forthcoming. Zubik, along with his brother bishops across the US, pledged to be "open and transparent" in clergy sex cases. That's what we want him to do, and we believe that's what parishioners should also want.
The easiest way for him to do this: just ask parishioners through his website, diocesan newspaper, parish bulletin, and pulpit announcements. It's not hard, expensive, time-consuming or controversial. In fact, it's remarkably simple. And it's what a caring shepherd should want to do.
Please join us in leaning on the bishop to take this simple step.