Deacon Barbara Duff and Rev. Diane Dougherty celebrated a liturgy on Feb. 28, 2013-Justice Rising, at First Metropolitan Community Church in Atlanta. On the day the Pope retired, we sang The Canticle of Turning, praying that in the amazing age in which we live, the momentum toward a renewed priesthood and gender equality in our Catholic tradition would be realized.
Pictures by Helen Turley
The U.S. Department of Justice did not return requests for comment, and the National Association of Attorneys General declined to comment. Abuse cases are typically handled by local and state prosecutors, not the federal government.
Child abuse scandals have rocked various Christian and Jewish institutions throughout the U.S. in recent years, with the Catholic Church's clergy abuse scandal that erupted in 2002 the most visible.
Earlier this month, Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles stripped retired Cardinal Roger Mahony of his public duties after a court-ordered release of church documents showed that Mahony and others tried to shelter abusive priests from prosecution.
David Clohessy, the director of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, described national efforts to deal with child-molesting clergy as "woefully inadequate."
"There has been and continues to be too cozy a relationship between religious and governmental figures," Clohessy said. "Other than a handful of local prosecutors, there's been almost no action at the state or federal level."
Clohessy said his group believes that if prosecutors were to target church leaders rather than individual priests, the problem would be solved much faster.
"If even a handful of bishops went to jail for enabling child sex crimes, we believe that that would introduce massive reform," Clohessy said. "Predator priests would be caught after their third victim, not 33rd victim."
Last year, Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City, Mo., was convicted of failing to report an abusive priest, and a leading churchman in Philadelphia received three to six years in prison for shuffling known abusers across the archdiocese.,,"