Parishioners in Alberta share their thoughts on the Pennsylvania grand jury report that exposing credible allegations against 301 priests in cases involving more than 1,000 children. Photos from Grandin Media

Canadian parishioners look for answers in wake of sex abuse scandal

By  Canadian Catholic News
  • August 21, 2018

The clergy abuse revealed in a Pennsylvania Grand Jury report has left many Catholics reeling, and not just in the U.S.

In Alberta, Grandin Media caught up with Catholic faithful for their reaction to the findings in the report released Aug. 14 that spoke of credible allegations against 301 priests in cases involving more than 1,000 children six dioceses in the state.

“It’s horrible. It’s horrible. It’s horrible,” said Marc Lambertus, a member of St. Albert parish in St. Albert, Alta., since 1974. “A lot of things that are going on are sickening and we wish that the evil would go away, and it’s not just in the Church. The Church is supposed to be the leader so when they do something wrong it looks even worse.”

But Lambertus, who has two daughters and four grandchildren, remains hopeful and said prayer is the solution.

“The Church has almost always been going through tough times,” he said. “This is not the first one and it won’t be the last one. What it makes me think of is Jesus and his 12 apostles and even one of them betrayed him. But the Church carried on and has done wonderful things.”

“When you look for the good, it’s overpowering the good that it does,” he said. “It far, far surpasses the harm that it does.”

Pat Doroshenko said her faith hasn’t been shaken but “it’s going to be hard to trust a priest again. It’s the trust issue. Trust and respect.”

She finds the news “shocking.”

“The priests are the most trusted people in the world and it’s very disappointing that they did such a thing. Just shock. Utter shock.”

“We should know who these people are,” Doroshenko said. “It should be out in the open and they should be disciplined somehow.”

Her faith will continue. “It’s something deep rooted inside of me. I’ll always remain Catholic.”

“It’s sad,” said Teresita Ostafijszuk, a member of St. Edmund’s Parish in Edmonton. She has one child and two grandchildren. “I feel sorry for the children as a mom and a grandmother. I don’t wish that on anyone.”

“I came from a Third World country,” she said. ”I have seen a lot in my life. It does scare. For me personally, I just hang on to my faith and my belief.”

“You just have to practise awareness and trustworthiness with anyone no matter who they are,” she said. “You have to be alert. You have to follow your instincts.”

“My faith is not for the priests. It’s for Jesus the Lord. That’s where my faith is. It’s not for any human being.”

Ostafijszuk  said she believes offending priests should be in jail. “They need to suffer.”

“Like any other company, they should go with police clearance before they become priests,” she added.

Sara Senten, a Grade 11 student at Austin O’Brien High School in Edmonton, said the news does not make her question her faith.

“When I hear things like that it makes me watch out for people like that and it makes me watch for signs,” she said. “It’s not about faith thing. It’s more of a distrust thing. I still have my faith in God and it has nothing to do with the priest, really.”

“It’s not about the actual Church itself. It’s about the priest and what he was doing wrong. He was misleading all those kids and misleading all those people. But the Church had good intentions.”

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