Local parish weighs in on Catholic Church abuse scandal - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Local parish weighs in on Catholic Church abuse scandal

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CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Controversy still lingers in the Roman Catholic Church after recent accusations that more than 300 Roman Catholic priests sexually abused more than 1,000 children. 

Pope Francis refused to answer accusations on Monday he knew that former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick from Washington, D.C. abused children.

Italian Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the former Vatican Ambassador to the U.S., sent a letter to Pope Francis asking him to resign. 

Priests like Father Bob Flannery, of St. Francis Xavier Church in Carbondale, are trying to reassure parishioners that although there maybe allegations of priests who have sexually abused children, there is still good that goes inside the church walls. 

Tim Taylor is not only a parishioner at St. Francis Xavier, but also the Director at the Southern Illinois University Newman Center. 

"I believe in God's promises and that we will always have the church with us, but that doesn't always mean that the Church will be as effective as it needs to be and I think we are in one of those moments right now," Taylor said. 

Father Flannery understands the moment stems from a Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report released earlier this month, accusing more than 300 priest of sexually abusing children. 

As the pastor at St. Francis Xavier in Carbondale, he said he knew he needed to address it head-on, "When the news came out from Pennsylvania on that Saturday, I was getting ready to plan my homily for the weekend, knowing I needed to and wanted to address it."

Father Flannery said this bad behavior has to be stopped higher up in the system. 

"People still believe in this, and it's a horrible thing and it needs to be rooted out in terms of the seminary system and in terms of the authorities above to not let this happen again," Father Flannery said. 

Earlier this month, the Belleville Diocese sent a letter to parishioners apologizing and encouraging any possible victims to come forward. 

Within the last week, Pope Francis also sent a letter out to all the parishes across the nation citing a passage in the Bible, "If one member suffers, all suffer together."

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan today launched a Clergy Abuse Hotline for anyone in Illinois to call to report any sexual abuse allegations involving clergy. The number is 1 (888) 414-7678. You can also send an email by clicking here.

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