Midstaters react to Vatican’s child protection summit


The Roman Catholic Church has been plagued with the issue of clergy sex abuse for years, and now efforts to confront the crisis are underway in Vatican City. 

“It’s important that we look towards our past, acknowledge what we’ve done wrong and continue forward after making corrections,” said John Zalesky, a Catholic parishioner. 

At the Cathedral of Saint Patrick in Harrisburg, noon mass still brings in the faithful. As many pray in Pennsylvania, they’re hopeful greater unity can come from the summit. 

“I think that the Holy Father is dedicated to making sure that we are all in solidarity with the victims and that we all come together in prayer and discernment,” said Burt Hamilton, a Catholic parishioner. 

But many think the summit won’t be enough.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro sent a series of tweets, saying in part, “based on our investigation, it’s clear that the church cannot be trusted to police itself.”

“I think just the fact that the Pope is making it a point to have this summit shows that he is concerned about the state of Catholics all over the world,” said Angela Johnson, a Catholic parishioner. 

Local Catholics say this discussion is long overdue. 

I’m hoping that we will be getting justice, not only the victims who’ve been affected by this terrible cause but also Catholics worldwide, that we don’t have to tolerate this in our church and we shouldn’t have to tolerate this,” said Johnson. 

The Diocese of Harrisburg released a statement saying it is “optimistic that positive changes and policies will come from the Child Protection Summit at the Vatican.”

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