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Catholics 'sickened' by Pennsylvania report on abuse

August 20. 2018 1:32AM

YORK, Pa.— Many churchgoers said they were sickened and saddened by a grand jury report detailing widespread sexual abuse by hundreds of priests in Pennsylvania but they would not let the Roman Catholic Church's cover-up dissuade them from their faith.

Nearly 200 parishioners filled almost all the pews for Saturday’s Mass at St. Patrick’s Church in York, Pa., where six priests who at one time worked in that parish are accused in the report.

“I can't talk about it without crying," said Kathy Morris, a retired steelworker and a member of St. Patrick's for over 15 years. "I'm going to Mass to try to find some peace."

“I’m disappointed that it happened but as far as the faith goes, I’ll never give my faith up,” said Anthony Giuffrida, 66, an usher and lifelong member at St. Patrick’s. “I was raised Roman Catholic and that’s what I’ll be till the day I die."

Few people attended the 9 a.m. service at St. Margaret Mary in Harrisburg where the report accuses Rev. Richard Barry of abusing boys in the 1980s. Most attending the Mass declined to comment or made brief statements without giving their names.

"Our faith goes on," one woman said.

The grand jury report was the most comprehensive report on clergy abuse in American history, accusing hundreds of priests in six of Pennsylvania's eight dioceses of assaulting children for decades while the diocese covered it up, often sending priests to treatment centers and reassigning them to different parishes.

The results of the grand jury’s two-year investigation were the latest revelation in a scandal that has shaken the Catholic Church since the Boston Globe in 2002 reported on decades of clergy abuse and the attempt by the diocese to cover it up.

Allegations of clergy abuse in Europe, Australia and Chile have also emerged and prompted the resignation of several leaders within the Church, which has about 1.2 billion members worldwide.

Rev. Keith Carroll of St. Patrick’s Church said in his sermon Saturday that "What is contained in that report is sickening and saddening." He said he was “struggling personally” with “anger, utter embarrassment and sadness.”

Carroll implored his parish to not spurn the church because of the grand jury’s findings: “Only God himself can bring us out of this darkness.”

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