One of the largest Catholic archdioceses in the nation released the names on Friday of dozens of priests and deacons “credibly accused” of sexually abusing minors, along with a letter of apology from New York’s powerful archbishop, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, seeking forgiveness “for the failings of those clergy and bishops who should have provided for the safety of our young people but instead betrayed the trust placed in them by God and by the faithful.”
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About half of the 120 priests and deacons on the list released by New York’s sprawling archdiocese have passed away, while the rest have been defrocked or otherwise dismissed from their ministries, though a handful of the named clergy are still appealing their dismissals.
Among those listed is Washington, D.C., Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who was defrocked by Pope Francis earlier this year after a Vatican tribunal found him guilty of sexually abusing a minor decades ago. New York’s archdiocese, like so many others across the nation, is scrambling to contain growing frustration among its nearly 3 million parishioners over the church’s systemic cover-ups of child sex abuse by Catholic clergy in recent decades.
"After hearing from many of you, including many victim-survivors, I have decided to publish a comprehensive list of all archdiocesan clergy found credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor," Dolan wrote in a letter to Catholics posted on the diocesan website and tweeted out on Friday afternoon.
"Please join me in praying for peace and consolation for victim-survivors and their families."
The publication of New York’s list of 115 priests and five deacons follows on the heels of similar disclosures this year from major archdioceses in the tri-state area, including those in Hartford, Connecticut; Newark, New Jersey; and Brooklyn, New York.
In February, Pope Francis summoned nearly 200 bishops and cardinals from across the globe to convene a historic conference at the Vatican in Rome to address the epidemic of child sexual abuse by Catholic priests.
The pope told those gathered at the conference that the world’s one billion Catholic faithful “expect not simple and obvious condemnations, but concrete and effective measures.”
The February conference in Rome itself followed a damning report issued last summer by a Pennsylvania grand jury, which accused more than 300 priests of molesting more than 1,000 victims in that state alone over the past 70 years.
The report prompted law enforcement in multiple other jurisdictions to launch their own forensic accounting of historic abuse cases, including the attorneys general of New York and New Jersey.
The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), the nation’s most prominent and vocal congregation of alleged victims of sex abuse at the hands of Catholic clergy, said in a statement that it was “grateful for the bit of transparency shown by the Archdiocese of New York today, we will be looking to the conclusion of the ongoing investigation by [New York] Attorney General Letitia James for the full transparency that the public deserves and needs.”