NEW YORK – Hoping to restore the faith of those disillusioned by how the church has handled sexual abuse allegations, the Catholic Archdiocese of New York appointed a former federal judge Thursday to review its procedures and protocols.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan announced the appointment of Barbara Jones, saying many Catholics had told him they were feeling let down by the church’s hierarchy after a “summer of hell.” The string of bad news has included a Pennsylvania grand jury report detailing widespread sexual abuse and systematic cover-up by church officials in that state, and revelations about sexual abuse allegations against a former archbishop, ex Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.
The move also comes two weeks after New York’s attorney general announced a comprehensive investigation of how the church and its leaders handled abuse allegations across the state. Attorney General Barbara Underwood issued subpoenas to all eight of the state’s Catholic dioceses for documents containing information on abuse allegations and how they were investigated and handled.
Dolan didn’t mention the state investigation during his news conference, instead citing pressure from ordinary Catholics.
“If I lost the trust of my people and this community, I don’t have a lot left,” he said.
He told Jones, who appeared alongside him at the news conference, that he was praying her “careful review and hard questions will help my good people renew their trust in the church they love and the leaders they want to believe.”
The step is the latest the Manhattan-based archdiocese has taken to assure the faithful that it is serious about reform – while simultaneously opposing proposed changes to New York law that would ease certain time limits on civil lawsuits and make it easier for people abused a long time ago to sue the church.
Read more at Crux.