Here We Go: Vatican ‘No Comment’ on Pennsylvania Predator Priests

The Vatican has declined to respond to an explosive grand jury report detailing decades of sexual abuse and cover-ups by priests and bishops in Pennsylvania, refusing even to say whether church officials in Rome have read the damaging documents.

“We have no comment at this time,” Paloma Ovejero, deputy director of the Vatican’s press office, said Wednesday.

But in the United States and elsewhere, pressure is mounting on Pope Francis to address a rapidly escalating crisis that has spread across several continents, from Australia to Latin America.

In the United States, both liberal and conservative Catholics displayed a rare unity in pressing the Pope to respond to the Pennsylvania grand jury report.

“The silence from the Vatican is disturbing,” said Massimo Faggioli, a theology professor at Villanova University in Pennsylvania. “I don’t think the Pope necessarily has to say something today. He needs time to understand the situation. But someone from the Vatican should say something.”

Faggioli noted that Wednesday is a national holiday in Italy, and many church offices are closed. But he also noted that it was well-known that Pennsylvania’s grand jury report, which was in the works since 2016, would be released on Tuesday.

“I don’t think they understand in Rome that this is not just a continuation of the sexual abuse crisis in the United States,” Faggioli said. “This is a whole different chapter. There should be people in Rome telling the Pope this information, but they are not, and that is one of the biggest problems in this pontificate — and it’s getting worse.”