PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Tomorrow marks two years since a scathing grand jury report laid out in nauseating detail decades of the sexual abuse of underage victims at the hands of the clergy.
“People in Pittsburgh couldn’t believe that something like that did and could happen here,” said Gretchen Jezerc.
Out of the shock and shame, Bishop David Zubik proposed bold new action, including support for victims, great financial transparency and increased accountability.
At the time Zubik said: “This is a new day. One of the things I said is the church cannot remain the same as it was.”
But the laity group Concerned Catholics for Change in Our Church, which has called for more lay involvement in church affairs, says the diocese has fallen short.
“I think it’s fair to say we are disappointed overall in the progress that’s been made,” Jezerc said.
Tomorrow, the group will issue a report card giving poor marks in victim support, financial transparency and lay oversight with an overall grade of C minus in partnering with the laity.
The bishop did form a pastoral council of lay people but Catholics for Change says all members were handpicked by the bishop and have effected no substantive change.
“This needs to be co-responsibility, not just a top down approach,” she said.
After years of declines in attendance and donations, the grand jury report set off another wave. Since then the diocese has been fighting off bankruptcy while paying out tens of millions of dollars to victims. Then COVID-19 hit. Catholics for Change says all the more reason for greater lay involvement to help save the church.
“What we’re seeing is an opportunity for the clergy to let go having to do it all, let go of some of the responsibility and let people who are volunteering their time, talent and treasure to actually help,” she said.