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Pittsburgh Diocese Releases Plan For ‘Church Healing’ Six Months After Clergy Abuse Report

90.5 WESA
Pittsburgh Roman Catholic Diocese Bishop David Zubik downtown on Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018.

The Pittsburgh Diocese says the wounds created in the church from decades of clergy sexual abuse against minors need healing. Bishop David Zubik released a plan for that process Monday.

Zubik’s five-point "Church Healing" action plan comes six months after the release of a Pennsylvania grand jury report detailing widespread clergy sexual abuse in six state dioceses.

The strategy includes enhanced support for survivors, greater financial transparency, increased accountability, ongoing spiritual formation for clergy and continued listening to seek “truth and reconciliation.”

The diocese began a series of listening sessions across the region in November. Parishioners were invited to share their concerns about the grand jury report and the cover-up by church leadership.

In December, the diocese created a victim’s compensation fund overseen by the law firm of Kenneth Feinberg. The firm will determine the eligibility of claims.

In a letter to the church dated March 6, 2019, Zubik said the diocese will establish a new office for the protection of children, youth and vulnerable adults, which will oversee background checks and child protection training. Zubik will also establish a third-party system for reporting concerns of suspected financial or personal misconduct.

In the pastoral letter, Zubik said the diocese is at a watershed moment. He acknowledged that it is impossible to undo the, “heinous actions committed in the past.”

“So, we must turn to God, and with his divine love and guidance, do everything possible to foster healing and to restore trust,” he said in the pastoral letter.

He said the "Church Healing" process was only a step with “many behind us and many more before us.”

“The words of a pastoral letter cannot alone rebuild trust. An action plan cannot alone heal the injuries suffered. But I pray that you can trust in my promise that these are the first steps of many that will be taken to restore the Church and to heal the wounds inflicted by sins of abuse,” Zubik said.

Sarah Schneider is WESA's education reporter. From early learning to higher education, Sarah is interested in students and educators working to create more equitable systems. Sarah previously worked with news outlets in Pennsylvania, Illinois and Idaho. She is a graduate of Southern Illinois University Carbondale where she worked for the school newspaper, the Daily Egyptian.