As U.S. Catholics await the release of the Vatican’s report on former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who was laicized by Pope Francis for serial sexual abuse, a new podcast chronicles the scourge of clergy abuse that has plagued the Catholic Church for more than seven decades.
Among the more than three dozen individuals interviewed for the series — which includes firsthand testimonials from abuse survivors, priests, bishops, lawyers and accountability advocates — is Tom Roberts, longtime editor for NCR.
Roberts recounts how NCR was the first news outlet to dare to report on clergy abuse in the Catholic press, dating back to the 1980s. Now, more than 30 years later, the 2018 revelations about McCarrick, former archbishop of Washington, D.C., and the release of a Pennsylvania grand jury report that chronicled seven decades of abuse of more than 1,000 victims at the hands of 300 priests ushered in a new wave of Catholics repulsed by decades of cover-up, says Roberts.
“The idea of clerical culture being at the heart of this, especially hierarchical culture, was beginning to take hold,” he states in the debut episode. “What has kept this really disturbing the Catholic community is the cover-up.”
Podcast host Karna Lozoya, executive director of communications at Catholic University, said that although she’s worked in Catholic media for nearly two decades, in creating the podcast over the last year, she was surprised by how much she didn’t know about the history of the sexual abuse scandal.