Catholic parishioners calling on Pope Francis to end sex abuse for good
Right now-- new insight into what the Roman Catholic Church calls credible accusations of sexual misconduct in Alabama involving nearly 30 priests, deacons, and other men. Two of them had ties to Birmingham: Joseph Gill, who had pastoral assignments here in the 1960s; and Edward Lawler, in the 1970s. Both men are now dead.
Local parishioners are reacting strongly about the revelations and the Archbishop's plea for forgiveness.
"This sex scandal is one of the worst to ever hit the church," says Randall Terry.
"They should be separated and exposed for what they are," Kathy O'Connor agrees. "It happens to everybody else. They're not above the law."
They are two people of the Catholic faith calling out leaders for hiding years of what is described as "crimes against children" in Alabama.
"It's been horrible! The cover-up!" says Terry. "Some of these cover-ups are borderline criminal."
Randall Terry says the Archdiocese of Mobile was right to expose the names. The list -- detailing names, dates of misconduct, and the parishes where they served. The Archdiocese says the decision to release the names was not made lightly. The letter, stating "It is my prayer that this will not re-traumatize anyone, but will assist in the healing for which victims desperately long."
Terry -- also calling on Pope Francis to take the appropriate action and deal with sex abuse for good.
"A sign that will make the church feel faithful again is how quickly this is dealt with."
Parishioners are now praying that God will cleanse the hearts of living priests. Church leaders turned their information over to state and local prosecutors.