Bishop Richard F. Stika issued a pastoral letter to priests, pastors, deacons, religious communities, and the faithful of the Diocese of Knoxville on Thursday. The letter addresses a report by the Pennsylvania attorney general on abuses that took place in that state and comes after two days of detailed reading of the report by the bishop.
Father Shelton invites Saint Mary’s parishioners to discuss this letter and the issues it addresses on Monday, August 27th at 6 pm in the social hall. In preparation for this gathering, parishioners are encouraged to read the John Jay College of Criminal Justice 2004 report on the scope of sexual abuse of children by priests, and the college’s 2011 report on the causes of this abuse. The “2017 Annual Report on the Implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People” is also worth reading. The most thorough, though polemical, account of the history of sexual abuse of minors by priests is Sex, Priests, and Secret Codes: The Catholic Church’s 2,000 Year Paper Trail of Sexual Abuse by A.W. Richard Sipe, available in hardbound and eBook formats. Information pertaining to child protection in the Diocese of Knoxville can be found on the Safe Environment page of the diocesan website.