It is ironic that while America's bishops pat themselves on the back for their alleged clergey sex reforms, another arrest of a priest for serial sexual abuse hits the news. We hope that as the bishops leave Atlanta and return to their home dioceses, they see this story as a sobering reminder of how far church officials really do have to go.
We are grateful to the police for apprehending Fr. Thomas Shoback and preventing him from abusing any more kids. The fact that he is currently facing more than 30 charges is indicative of the lack of oversight and care by church officials at the Diocese of Scranton.
Shoback abused kids on church grounds and in the rectory. It is hard to imagine, therefore, that no other employee or parishioner saw his crimes and failed to report them. We hope that this is not the case, but we expect it is.
We urge anyone who saw, suspected, or suffered crimes by Shoback to come forward immediately to the Pennsylvania State Police. Bishop Bambera should also do everything he can to help law enforcement. Issuing a short statement urging people to “pray for healing” does nothing. Instead, he should use all the resources available to him (including the diocesan website and newspaper) to reach out to others who may have been hurt by Shoback or any other employee of the Diocese of Scranton.