Title: The sex abuse scandal is not over. The hierarchal culture still needs transformation.
A 2004 story in The New York Times bore the headline, all in caps: ABUSE SCANDAL HAS BEEN ENDED, TOP BISHOP SAYS.That top bishop was a young Wilton Gregory who, two years earlier and as head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, had herded the rest of the U.S. hierarchy through the first phase of accountability for the scandal.
The headline was based on a Gregory declaration, made following the release of two studies of the scandal. “The terrible history recorded here today is history,” he said.
That, of course, turned out to be more wish than reality. The finality implied in the statement has yet eluded the bishops, a point made clear by the recent searing assessment by Barbara Thorp, who took on the job of directing the Boston Archdiocese’s response to victims back in 2002, when the ecclesial world there was exploding. She claims that despite the decades of rolling disclosures and revelations that emerged from investigative reporting, grand jury reports, civil cases, the courage of countless victims and grudging reforms resulting in greater transparency, there is still much we don’t know.