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SEWICKLEY (KDKA) — St. James Catholic Parish may be the first of many parishes in the Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese to host town hall meetings, like the one held Monday evening in Sewickley.
Parishioners, still reeling from last week’s release of the state grand jury report uncovering alleged child sexual abuse in six Pennsylvania dioceses, spoke out about their hurt and their desire for change.
“It’s devastating. I cried, I still cried,” said one parishioner.
More than 200 parishioners attended the meeting, many said they feel a sense of betrayal and confusion.
They also say they want accountability from clergy members, including Pittsburgh’s current and former leaders, Bishop David Zubik and Cardinal Donald Wuerl.
“I believe he and Cardinal Wuerl need to resign to even show good faith,” Karen Shaheen said.
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- Cardinal Wuerl, Bishop Zubik Under Fire In Grand Jury Report
- Vatican Responds To Grand Jury Report, Calls Abuse ‘Criminal And Morally Reprehensible’
Shaheen came from a family of 10, and grew up Catholic. She is raising her daughters in Catholic school.
Nicole Shaheen, a student at St. James, came to the meeting with mom and dad.
“I cannot stand people who would cover up people who are young and get abused,” she said. “Think of the victims.”
Fr. James Farnan fielded heartbreak, questions and concerns from the faithful for two hours, as well as ideas on how to move forward.
“I think the priests of our dioceses here in Pittsburgh are very eager to see how this can make us a better church and a stronger church,” said Fr. Farnan.
The grand jury report spans a time period of 70 years, and six of the priests named in it served at St. James.