Back in March 1993, nearly a decade before the Boston Globe brought national attention to the clergy sex abuse scandal, Phil Donahue devoted an episode of his show to the topic. One of the guests was Fr. Andrew Greeley, who died today at the age 85.
I was searching through You Tube to find some video footage of Fr. Greeley so I could learn more about his distinguished career. It’s shocking to me that this issue was aired so publicly even two decades ago, and before, and yet still haven’t been addressed fully today. The guests discuss bishops refusing to take responsibility for shuffling priests, the scapegoating of gay priests, and the silencing of victims.
Among other thoughts, Fr. Greeley noted that the papacy of John Paul II didn’t care about the protection of children, a bold claim in 1993. He disagreed with Donahue’s claim that an end to priestly celibacy would have prevented the sex abuse scandal and noted that the national church had paid about $40-50 million a year to settle sex abuse claims. To date, the church has paid over $2.6 billion in settlements since 1950.