Conference on Catholic abuse crisis seeks to promote healing
FILE PHOTO: Parishioners attend mass celebrated by Bishop Ronald Gainer, of the Harrisburg Diocese, at the Cathedral Church of Saint Patrick in Harrisburg, Pa., Friday, Aug. 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
(Harrisburg) — It’s been one year since Pennsylvania’s Attorney General released a grand jury report detailing allegations of sexual abuse against 300 clergy in six of the state’s eight Roman Catholic dioceses.
Midstate Catholics hope to promote healing in the church through an upcoming conference examining the crisis.
The Pro Vita conference aims to identify the origins of the scandal and possible solutions to end the abuse and bring justice to victims. It’s organized by the Saint Gabriel Respect Life Ministry, a lay educational group in the Saint Patrick parish in Carlisle.
The event will feature a theology professor from Villanova University to provide historical context and representatives from the Harrisburg Diocese who can explain the response.
Co-organizer Gabriel Marcella said the grand jury report was shocking.
“I think the Body of Christ, that is to say the church and the members of the church, are deeply wounded by this,” he said.
Organizers hope through education and dialogue, they can increase confidence that responsible solutions can be found.
“I hope that we will all leave with a sense of hope that this problem can be addressed.” said co-organizer Angela Smith. “It’s not intractable. It’s not impossible.”
The conference is scheduled for Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Saint Patrick’s Church in Carlisle. The morning will be dedicated to the scheduled speakers. An optional small group discussion session will follow lunch.
It’s open to the public.