Pope weighs in after report details sexual abuse of children by priests in Pittsburgh area

Pope Francis releases 2,000-word letter

By Steve Garagiola - Reporter/Anchor, Derick Hutchinson

DETROIT - The Pope has finally weighed in nearly a week after the bombshell report detailing sexual abuse of children by priests in the Pittsburgh area.

Pope Francis released a 2,000-word letter Monday, and now it's time for Metro Detroit Catholics to weigh in.

In a letter to Catholics around the world, Pope Francis said the church abandoned young victims of sexual abuse at the hands of hundreds of priests. Many Catholics have turned away from the church and many are angry.

"It's a crime," Catholic Steve Ray said. "If I did this, I'd be arrested. I mean, this isn't something you report to the bishop, it's something you report to the police. Instead of saying, 'Let's pray for them,' I'd rather say, 'Let's put them in prison and I'll pray for them when he's there.'"

Al Kresta is a prominent voice in Metro Detroit's Catholic community through Ave Maria Radio. Kresta's view is shared by many Catholics: that faith in Catholicism remains strong, but faith in people is severely shaken.

"The Catholic bishops of American have all the moral authority of Bill Cosby right now," Kresta said. "They could once be called America's father figure, but now they've been associated with serial rapists."

Kresta, like many other Catholics of deep faith, said he believes the resurrection of the church from this crisis will happen only with an honest and complete accounting of the abuse.

"That's where you begin: with an honest appraisal of our brokenness and our weakness," Kresta said. "When you have to think, 'I wonder if that's one of the good guys or bad guys,' you've lost. You're not supposed to have to ask that question of a Catholic priest."

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