Source: The Guardian
BY Harriet Sherwoodin Pittsburgh
Afew weeks after the devastating extent of child sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests in Pennsylvania was laid bare in a 900-page grand jury report, Father Michael Stumpf was approached by one of his parishioners.
“She demanded: ‘What do you know?’ And with a shock, I realised that because I’m a member of the clergy, people think I’m complicit. And I can totally understand why,” said the priest at St Mary of the Mount, which overlooks downtown Pittsburgh.
“I’ve had feedback in the last few weeks that I’ve never experienced before. It’s been challenging and disturbing – but also encouraging. The candour with which people have spoken has been refreshing. There’s an awakening and an empowerment because of this.
“Are we seeing fewer people coming to church, a decrease in people’s giving? Yes, some – a little. People let their voices be heard in one way or another.”