Greensburg Diocese launches new dialogue following report of sexual abuse, cover-ups
Leaders of the Greensburg Catholic Diocese are opening a new dialogue with parishioners, following outcry triggered by a state grand jury report that detailed seven decades of alleged priest sexual abuse and cover-ups in six dioceses across Pennsylvania, including Greensburg and Pittsburgh.
The report that detailed horrific allegations of sexual abuse by 301 priests against more than 1,000 children has drawn expressions of anger and sadness at churches here and across the nation.
“I realize it is going to take a long time for people to regain any trust or confidence in the church,” Bishop Edward Malesic said. “We are taking actions to reform ourselves in many ways, including spiritually. Bishops, priests and lay people, we have to be as open as possible. This is not a top-down enterprise. We are all the church together.”
Diocesan spokesman Jerry Zufelt said Malesic will attend at a series of listening sessions this fall to give people an opportunity to interact with him directly and ask questions.
“He also wants to listen to the valuable insights parishioners may have and give them an opportunity to express their views about key issues of concern for the church moving forward,” Zufelt said.
He said Malesic also plans to establish a Lay Leadership Council of Catholics and non-Catholics, in line with recommendations from the National Review Board. The council will be tasked with ensuring that the diocese does not become complacent about the protection of children. It also will oversee listening sessions, analyze the recommendations, develop and implement a project plan, and issue a yearly review of diocesan compliance.
In November, the diocese will undergo its 18th annual outside audit to determine compliance with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops standards for the protection of children.