ShareThis Page
News

Bishop Zubik announces 'year of repentance' in response to child sex abuse allegations

| Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018, 2:41 p.m.
Bishop David Zubik answer questions from a Tribune-Review reporter during an interview at the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh’s Downtown offices, on Aug. 21, 2018.
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Bishop David Zubik answer questions from a Tribune-Review reporter during an interview at the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh’s Downtown offices, on Aug. 21, 2018.

Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh clergy will undergo periodic fasting and prayer for a year “in light of the scandal of child sexual abuse,” Bishop David Zubik announced Tuesday.

The announcement comes a month after a grand jury detailed decades of allegations of sexual abuse and cover-up by clergy in six of the church’s dioceses in Pennsylvania. The report included allegations against 99 Pittsburgh priests.

Zubik has said the church didn’t cover up the abuse and that the church has instituted internal reforms to address abuse by clergy.

“Faced with the sinful actions of the members of our own ranks of the clergy, who are called to manifest the example of Christ, we feel both shame and sorrow, and are reminded of our own sinfulness and the need for mercy,” Zubik wrote in a letter to clergy, according to the announcement.

His announcement invited all Catholics to join in a “year of repentance,” which will include four three-day fasting periods over the year in which clergy will abstain from meat and dedicate a special hour of prayer each day.

Zubik will inaugurate the year Sunday, Sept. 23, and will lead a related prayer that afternoon.

“Apologies, condemnations, penance fail to protect or support victims, they are merely words and gestures,” Tim Lennon, president of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, said in an emailed response to the announcement. The group has repeatedly called for Zubik to step down.

The grand jury report recommends four changes to state law to address the abuse, including a “window of opportunity” proposal that would temporarily allow people older than 30 to file civil lawsuits over sexual abuse that occurred when they were younger than 18. Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations prohibits childhood civil abuse claims after 30 and criminal claims after 50.

The Catholic Conference, which lobbies for the church, has opposed the change, as has the Insurance Federation of Pennsylvania. Senate Republicans have said the provision would be unconstitutional. Shapiro has defended its constitutionality.

Wes Venteicher is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Wes at 412-380-5676, wventeicher@tribweb.com or via Twitter @wesventeicher.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me