Illinois AG’s bombshell clergy abuse report not surprising

Voice of the Faithful Statement, May 24, 2023, contact Nick Ingala,, (781) 559-3360

Boston, Mass., May 24, 2023―Voice of the Faithful cannot pretend to be surprised, even as we are outraged, by the Illinois attorney general’s Catholic clergy abuse report released yesterday, May 23. The report concluded an investigation started in 2018 and found that 451 Catholic clergy had abused nearly 2,000 children since 1950. The investigation began on the heels of the 2018 Pennsylvania grand jury report that found 300 clergy in that state had abused more than 1,000 children. Only last month, the Maryland attorney general released his report of an investigation of abuse in the Archdiocese of Baltimore: 156 clergy abused 600 children between 1940 and 2002.

These reports are only two of dozens of similar revelatory reports over the past three decades that have shown the Catholic Church allowed clergy to abuse children and then covered up their crimes.

Voice of the Faithful cannot adequately describe the anguish Catholic clergy child abuse causes victims, survivors, and the entire Body of Christ, as personal testimonies of abuse in this and similar reports detail.

We intend, however, to continue to speak this truth to power and to watch carefully how well the Church today follows its own child protection guidelines. Last year, VOTF published “2022 Report: Measuring Abuse Prevention and Safe Environment Programs as Reported Online in Diocesan Policies and Practice” and is now reviewing all U.S. dioceses for its 2023 report.

VOTF’s 2022 report was not overly laudatory of the Church’s child protection efforts. Its authors concluded, in part, “Results of this Review indicate the need to enhance diocesan child protection and safe environment measures. Actions by all are essential to keep children safe in our church communities. Clearly stated, publicly available, and comprehensive diocesan guidelines for safe environments provide measurable standards that can be modeled in parishes and are essential to prevent further child abuse.”

Here is how Illinois’ six dioceses scored out of a possible 100 points in VOTF’s 2022 child protection report:

  • Peoria, 41.5
  • Rockford, 63.5
  • Belleville, 68
  • Chicago, 71
  • Springfield, 87

If you have not had the opportunity to read media reports about the Illinois attorney general’s report, here are a couple of links, and a link to the entire 696-page report itself:

Voice of the Faithful’s® mission is to provide a prayerful voice, attentive to the Spirit, through which the Faithful can actively participate in the governance and guidance of the Catholic Church. VOTF’s goals are to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse, to support priests of integrity, and to shape structural change within the Catholic Church. More information is at