A priest invites an 8-year-old boy into the rectory and begins to kiss him. He sticks his tongue and hands where they don’t belong after offering alcohol to the child and his friend.
The boy pushes back and escapes the situation, but his friend isn’t able to – the boy watches the priest shut the door with his friend behind it.
Outside, the boy smashes a window on the priest’s car while, inside the church, his friend is sexually abused.
A shut door and a shattered window – symbols of silence and anger.
This story is taken from a Pittsburgh lawsuit against the Catholic Church, which for decades protected more than 300 priests across Pennsylvania accused of committing heinous acts on young boys and girls, according to a grand jury report.
And in that grand jury report are more heartbreaking symbols: Where the names of 19 accused priests are listed, black bars of redaction hide them.
Because of a recent state Supreme Court decision, parishioners in five Pennsylvania dioceses will have to wonder whether the names of their current and former priests are behind those black bars of redaction.
Attorney General Josh Shapiro argued that disclosure of the names was allowed by the Grand Jury Act, but the justices ruled it would be harmful to the reputations of the anonymous accused pedophiles. Ugh.
While the priests might not face criminal charges, the Supreme Court fears they would be open to mob justice. We join Shapiro in hoping church officials release the names because it is a public safety matter.
For now, 19 black bars of redacted type keep the cover-up going.