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PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) – Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik is pushing back against calls for his resignation.
This comes in the wake of a scathing grand jury report on accusations of child sex abuse against Roman Catholic priests in Pennsylvania.
Last week, SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, released a statement saying Zubik should step down. It also said Catholics should stop donating to the Diocese of Pittsburgh until he resigns, or takes proven steps that protect kids.
Now, the bishop is outlining the next steps in the diocese’s response.
Priests at every parish in the diocese read a letter from the bishop during Mass this weekend.
In the letter, Bishop Zubik emphasized how they’ve made drastic improvements over the past 30 years. He also said there is no priest or deacon in active ministry with a credible allegation against him.
However, until three months ago, a retired priest accused of molesting a 16-year-old boy was still serving Mass in the Pittsburgh Diocese. It wasn’t until Zubik found out the priest was cited in the grand jury report that the diocese restricted him.
- CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL REPORT AND LIST OF NAMES OF PREDATOR PRIESTS
- CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL LIST OF NAMES RELEASED BY THE CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF PITTSBURGH
- CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL LIST OF NAMES RELEASED BY THE CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF GREENSBURG
The letter included an apology and emphasized all the improvements they are making and continue to make.
“We cannot bury our heads in the sand. There were instances in the past when the church acted in ways that did not respond effectively to victims. Swift and firm responses to allegations should have started long before they did. For that, I also express profound regret,” Zubik said.
On Sunday, Bishop Zubik spoke to George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week.”
“We all need to have a – a deep sense of empathy for all the victims who have suffered so much, as I apologize to them we need to continue with looking for efforts to help their lives become better,” Zubik said.
Zubik said a vetting system for future priests is different now. They have ways to survey a potential priest, which evaluates them emotionally and mentally. They will not allow anyone into the priesthood if he appears or seems unable to commit to a healthy and celibate lifestyle.
Pope Francis Responds
Meanwhile, Pope Francis has issued a letter to Catholics around the world condemning the “crime” of priestly sexual abuse and cover-up and demanding accountability, in response to new revelations in the United States of decades of misconduct by the Catholic Church.
Francis begged forgiveness for the pain suffered by victims and said lay Catholics must be involved in any effort to root out abuse and cover-up. He blasted the self-referential clerical culture that has been blamed for the abuse crisis, with church leaders more concerned for their reputation than the safety of children.
Francis wrote: “We showed no care for the little ones; we abandoned them.”
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