Thursday, July 23, 2015

25 years ago: St. John's Roman Catholic Archbishop offers his resignation as a result of priest sex abuse scandal

On July 18, 1990, Alphonsus Penney, Roman Catholic Archbishop of St. John's, announced that he had offered his resignation to Pope John Paul II following the release of a report that blamed church officials for ignoring and covering up sexual abuse by priests. "We are a sinful church," said Archbishop Penney, who had initiated the report by a five-member commission headed by former Newfoundland Lieutenant-Governor Gordon Winter. The report found that high-ranking clergy were more concerned about the offenders than the victims, and attempted to cover up allegations that priests were sexually abusing boys. Among its 55 recommendations, the commission suggested that the Canadian Council of Catholic Bishops examine such issues as compensation for abuse victims and the tradition of celibacy for priests.

Archbishop Penney's offer of resignation was accepted, and he stepped down in 1991 after 12 years in office. The Newfoundland scandals were among the first accounts of sexual abuse of boys by priests to receive widespread publicity in North America, and there have been so many since then that I won't even guess the number.

No comments:

Post a Comment