Sorry, Your Excellency.
On Tuesday, Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik announced a Year of Repentance, a way for the clergy to give back to the communities wounded by decades of molestation, rape, intimidation and lies disclosed by Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s grand jury report.
Let’s forget for a moment that the year is retroactive to last month, so it’s really just 11 months of atonement.
Let’s forget for a moment that some of the victims are dead, as are many of the priests who did the perpetrating and most of the bishops who were behind the covering up.
But there are things we will not forget.
We will not forget the numbers. We know that at least 1,000 children across the state were abused at the hands of the men they were taught to trust in all things.
We will not forget the willful generations of obstruction orchestrated by the church leadership.
We will not forget that this was done to protect power while the church continued to collect money from the very children, families and parishes it dismissed while shuffling priests to another rectory to prey upon a new crop of altar boys or schoolgirls.
We will not forget that Zubik had the opportunity to unburden the diocesan soul before Shapiro did it for him, and he did not take it.
There are not enough feet for Zubik to wash. There are not enough cheeks to turn. There are not enough rosaries in the cathedral.
We are talking about a coordinated series of crimes that took place over 70 years, crippling the lives and breaking the spirits of a staggering number of children, and those are just the ones who came forward. Sexual crimes are among the most underreported because of the shame involved. How much harder to speak out against the man who holds your absolution in his hands?
To suggest that a year of intermittent fasting and prayer by the remaining clergy, many who were not named and never tarred by this sin, will purify the bloodied hands of the criminals and their collaborators is a new kind of vile.
It smacks of Zubik attempting to fend off lawsuits and the potential criminal cases that might still exist as Shapiro continues to collect reports from newly outspoken accusers.
No, Your Excellency, this is not an offense where community service will serve as adequate punishment.