Catholic Light Addresses Report
Thursday’s edition of the Diocese of Scranton’s newspaper included prominent coverage of the scathing grand jury report earlier this week that outlined decades of child sex abuse by priests and other faith leaders.
Stories in The Catholic Light included a report on the press conference by the Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, bishop of the Diocese of Scranton, information on steps the diocese has taken to prevent abuse and a message from Bambera in both English and Spanish.
According to the newspaper’s publication schedule online, an edition was set to be published on Aug. 9, but it wasn’t published until Thursday, a week later.
The first three pages were devoted to coverage of the grand jury report, but the list of the 70 credibly accused priests and other individuals the Diocese of Scranton identified online earlier this week did not appear anywhere in the edition. Instructions on how to find the list on the diocese’s website were published, however. The newspaper also included information on how to report additional allegations of wrongdoing.
The publication also did not mention the Most Rev. James C. Timlin, bishop emeritus, nor address his role in covering up child sex abuse, exposed as part of the report, and his current status with the diocese.
Diocese spokesman and Catholic Light editor-in-chief William Genello declined to answer questions when contacted via telephone Thursday and insisted on an email query.
He did not immediately respond to emailed questions sent Thursday afternoon.
As part of Bambera’s message — which can be viewed online and will be played at Masses this weekend — the bishop apologized to victims of child sex abuse.
“Simply put, child sexual abuse cannot be tolerated and must be eradicated from our church,” Bambera said in the message. “Sadly, the church has taken far too long to do that.”
The Catholic Light joins other diocesan newspapers in Pennsylvania in reporting on the scandal.
The Diocese of Harrisburg pre-empted the report by publishing an issue of The Catholic Witness on Aug. 10 detailing that diocese’s release of findings of an internal investigation on child sex abuse, though it did not include a list of accused priests in print.
The Catholic Witness also included information on how to report suspected child abuse and stories on how that diocese will remove the names of all bishops from 1947 onward from buildings, rooms and other places of honor and how the diocese is working to prevent child sex abuse.
The most recent issue, dated today and available online, included a response from Bishop Ronald W. Gainer to the grand jury report, plus information on reporting child abuse and efforts of the diocese to prevent it, on the first two pages of the 16-page issue.
The AD Times, the Diocese of Allentown’s diocesan newspaper, is published every other week and was between editions when the grand jury report was released Tuesday. The paper published a special edition Thursday to inform readers what the diocese has been doing to prevent further incidents of abuse, said Matt Kerr, secretary for external affairs and director of communications with the Diocese of Allentown.
The special edition, like the latest issues of the Scranton and Harrisburg diocesan papers, also includes a message from the bishop.
Future issues will contain updates and further information, he said.
“This will be a major story going forward,” Kerr said.
To read The Catholic Light online, visit dioceseofscranton.org. The paper is published 17 times a year on Thursdays and is mailed to about 50,000 people across the diocese.
Contact the writer:
570-348-9100 x5363, @ClaytonOver