Protests outside the Archdiocese headquarters in Philadelphia are escalating as 23 priests have now been suspended by Cardinal Justin Rigali following a grand jury report accusing church officials of protecting pedophile priests.
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia placed two retired priests on administrative leave, just weeks after 21 others were suspended from service. The grand jury report released last month charged two priests, a former priest and a Catholic school teacher. A former high-ranking church official was accused of covering-up abuse in the church.
Outside the headquarters of the Archdiocese protesters have become a familiar sight. Groups organizing the protests include "Catholics 4 Change" and "Voice of the Faithful". They are demanding a stop to the cover-up of sexual abuse in the church. They were joined by a priest and a nun.
Fr. Michael Lipareli said "I am horrified and humiliated to see what our church has not done, how they have covered this up for so many years."
Sister Maureen told Fox "We should not put up with this cover-up, which is continuing to this very day."
Both of them would like to see other members of the clergy come out in protest against the Catholic Church’s actions. They feel that all of the clergy are being painted with a broad brush.
One of the protesters Buddy Schmidt said "The cardinal is the one concealing the criminal priests, the pedophiles, so he is the guilty party here. He is the one who has to step forward. Actually, he needs to step down…I can't continue putting money in the basket anymore and support this."
He asked that Catholics "carry intact the fire of your love in this church every time that men have obscured her face…You have need of divine help if you do not want your faith to dry up as a dewdrop in the sun, if you do not want to succumb to the temptations of consumerism, if you do not want your love to be drowned in pornography, if you do not want to betray the weak and the victims of abuse and violence.
“You must know what you believe; you must know your faith with the same precision with which a specialist in information technology knows the (operating) system of a computer; you must know it as a musician knows his piece.”
These words were part of his foreword to the Youth Catechism which will pilgrim backpack for World Youth Day 2011 in Madrid.