Pa. Cardinal Responds to Sex Abuse Scandal

Rigali says scandal brings "great sadness and distress" to every Catholic

The archbishop of Philadelphia is releasing a video message to parishioners, telling them that charges announced last week in the priest sexual abuse scandal bring “great sadness and distress to every Catholic, every person.”

Cardinal Justin Rigali released the video message Saturday, two days after Philadelphia's district attorney announced charges against three priests, a parochial school teacher and Monsignor William Lynn. Lynn was secretary of the clergy and a top official in the Philadelphia Archdiocese from 1992 to 2004.

Rigali is calling for “a moment of renewed faith.”

The three priests and teacher were charged with raping boys. Lynn was accused of endangering children, not molesting them.

Lynn's attorney has said he doesn't concede for a moment that he knew he was putting children at risk.

 An association for victims of sex abuse at the hands of clergy condemned Philadelphia Archdiocese's initial response to molestation charges against three priests and a teacher Thursday.

Cardinal Justin Rigali said the Archdiocese was bringing in 2 new members and establishing a new office to deal with issues relating to the sexual abuse charges.

In response to those actions, the Survivor's Network of Those Abused by Priests said,

"Tinkering around the edges is merely damage control. Genuine reform involves bringing in truly independent professionals who are not on the church payroll and severely disciplining the wrong doers. Archbishop Rigali can hire dozens of people but as long as he and his top staff continue their irresponsible deceit, virtually nothing will change."

Four members of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia turned themselves in Thursday for crimes related to the rape of two boys.  Priests Edward Avery, 68, and Charles Engelhardt, 64, and Parochial school teacher Bernard Shero, 48, are all charged with sexually assaulting a 10-year-old boy.  Priest James Brennan, 47, has been charged with sexually assaulting a 14-year-old boy. 

Monsignor William Lynn, 60, was responsible for investigating reports of sexual abuse in the Archdiocese.  Accused of allowing the abuse to go unreported, he has been charged with endangering children.

The Archdiocese said it was hiring Mary Achilles, formerly of the Philadelphia D.A.'s office, to advise on addressing the needs of the victims.  A psychologist, Joseph A. Cronin, has been brought in to serve as a clergy support associate, and a new position to investigate sex abuse allegations was established.

David Clohessy, of the Survivor's Network of Those Abused by Priests, said that the church's problems are deep-rooted.  "This is not about a rogue monsignor or an atypical bishop," Clohessy told on Friday.  "This is an incredibly deeply rooted, longstanding, cultural, structural problem in the church. So, frankly, one man retiring, or one man being demoted, that's not going to change it."

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