Priests and parishioners struggle over Archdiocese suspensions

It’s been a difficult seven days for Catholic churches across the Philadelphia region.  One week ago, Archbishop Justin Rigali dropped a bombshell: suspending almost two dozen priests in connection with child sex abuse allegations.

That can make for tense moments in the pews.

Father Peter Talocci worked at St. Patrick’s Church in Malvern before being suspended.  This past Sunday, Father James Ambrogi told parishioners at St. Patrick’s that he hopes Talocci will get to return to work.”Not necessarily to St. Pat’s but return in his ministry to the Church,” Ambrogi said.  “I’m praying that he’s found innocent.”Sherry McCormack did not appreciate similar comments by another priest at St. Patrick’s. 

McCormack said she stepped out so she could distribute literature from the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.”I left Mass early,” McCormack said, “and I turned around to find you know three or four women coming out with tears streaming down their eyes.  This is what the pastor doesn’t see.  There’s victims in the audience and our priests are not in tune with that at all.”McCormack said one woman described being abused in the second and third grades–something she had not told anyone before.   Father Ambrogi said he did not intend to hurt or silence abuse survivors.  He said Catholics should to stay strong.”The Church is not the priest, it’s the people and Christ.  That’s what makes up the Church.  Our priests bring the sacraments to the people, but they are not really the church – the people are the Church, and they have to hold their heads up high and realize that nothing can destroy the Church, because they are the Church.”

Tomorrow, lawyers for a Delaware County man, plan to announce a third lawsuit against Philadelphia Archdiocese officials since the Grand Jury report was released last month.

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