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NEWARK, N.J. (ChurchMilitant.com) - Mothers with young families continue to protest outside Cdl. Joseph Tobin's chancery, hoping for a canonical investigation into the New Jersey prelate's potential crimes related to sex abuse cover-up.
A group of parents, joined by others, has been protesting outside of the archdiocese of Newark's cathedral on a regular basis. The group, Rebuild My Church: NJ Catholics Against Sexual Abuse, is demanding an independent investigation into civil and ecclesiastical crimes committed in the archdiocese.
Church Militant spoke with one of the protesters, who said, "Our support has been growing," noting many abuse victims and New Jersey State Senator Joseph Vitale attended the protest on Sunday. The protests are usually attended by "tons of children" but many of the children were kept out of the cold and rain on Sunday.
The director of communications for the archdiocese of Newark, Jim Goodness, and the cardinal's secretary have spoken informally to the protesters on several occasions. Cardinal Tobin spoke to the group publicly once. The protester said he was "just pushing his talking points," adding, "He has given no additional information other than what he has mailed out or stated publicly."
Last week, Cdl. Tobin released a video message
to the faithful in the diocese in response to the sex abuse crisis in the Church.
"Now is no time for the Church to be defensive or silent," he said. "We must admit our guilt and recognize the injustice, admitting responsibility and begging for forgiveness are essential but alone, insufficient."
"I agree with the analysis of the Holy Father, who names clericalism as a principal cause of abuse in the Church, I commit myself to promoting a more incisive role for laity in our archdiocese," Cdl. Tobin said.
Four New Jersey priests were named in the Pennsylvania grand jury report. On Aug. 11, Cdl. Tobin announced
he has contracted with an outside firm to audit all of the personal files. Goodness told NJ.com, "When the audit is complete, a protocol for determining how to identify and release names will be determined."
He announced a day of prayer, fasting and abstinence on Friday, Sept. 14, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, where he expects all priests of the diocese to join him in the cathedral to beg for God's forgiveness with "our unshakable intention to never to return the Church to business as usual."
"We have no priests with us at the protests," the protester lamented. They placed the blame squarely on Cdl. Tobin, saying it is because they are unable to speak in good conscience without retribution. "As much as Cdl. Tobin has said so much has changed, what has not changed is this."
In response to our questions, echoing those of the protesters, Goodness provided this statement:
The Archdiocese has since 2002 reported all accusations of child sexual abuse to the appropriate county prosecutors in New Jersey, per the guidelines established by a Memorandum of Understanding among the NJ Attorney General, the New Jersey Catholic Dioceses, and the county prosecutors. We will cooperate with the task force that the NJ Attorney General recently announced.
On Thursday, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced the creation of a task force to investigate priestly sex abuse and cover-up. The goal of this task force is to present evidence to a state grand jury with the authority to subpoena documents and call witnesses.
"There are some Catholics who feel like their job is done when it has just begun," the protester said.
They plan on continuing the protests, saying, "The most important message here is that there is something wrong and that we will remain because we love the Church."
Anyone wishing to join the protests or volunteer to help spread the word to other New Jersey Catholics can find more information on their Facebook page.
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