Catholics for Change in Our Church marks second anniversary of Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report on Child Sexual Abuse by Church Clergy

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Catholics for Change in Our Church gives Church of Pittsburgh a Progress Report Grade of C- on second anniversary of PA Grand Jury report

Catholics for Change in Our Church (CCOC), an independent organization of Catholics seeking a greater role for the laity in the Church, today released a Progress Report and statement on the second anniversary of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report on Child Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church.

The statement provides a two-year assessment of the changes occurring in the Catholic Church of Pittsburgh as it responds to the sexual abuse crisis, and to declining participation from lay Catholics that’s been accelerated by the global COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent financial crisis. In addition to the statement, CCOC has provided a Progress Report, grading the efforts of the diocese in nine categories and providing an overall grade of C-.

“For the last two years, our more than 1,000 members have spoken for many, maybe even the majority, of the Catholics still active in the Church in Pittsburgh,” said Kevin Hayes, CCOC President. “The Church’s struggles with the abuse fallout have been worsened by the impact of the pandemic and economic crisis. Our statement and progress report demonstrate that the Church needs its lay members to help lead now more than ever.”

In September 2018, 200 committed, hurting and outraged Catholics met and formed Catholics for Change in Our Church (CCOC). Today members participate in seven focus groups in areas ranging from healing for sexual abuse survivors to financial transparency and the proper role of lay leaders in today’s Church.

The CCOC Progress Report provides a detailed review of efforts to collaborate with diocesan leadership in areas including independent and lay oversight of diocesan finances and other functions; strengthening parish pastoral and finance councils; surveying the laity on the role of women in ministry and church governance; and promoting co-responsibility of the laity through appropriate parish and diocesan roles.

“We are the Church. Together. The clergy, the laity, and the central diocesan administration,” said Gretchen Jezerc, Vice President of CCOC. “There needs to be more co-responsibility in our Church going forward. The change that’s needed will only happen if the laity both demand it and help do the work to get it done.”

About CCOC:
CCOC – Catholics for Change in Our Church – is an independent organization of 1000+ concerned, committed Catholics, based in Pittsburgh, formed to affirm the laity’s rightful role of co-responsibility in the Church. The goal of CCOC is to bring about positive changes grounded in working collaboratively with the clergy and having the qualities of transparency, accountability, and competency. The seven focus areas of CCOC are: Supporting Abuse Victims/Survivors and Their Families, Financial Transparency, Addressing Clericalism, Strengthening and Diversifying the Clergy, Pathways to Lay Leadership, Engaging and Empowering Youth, and Lay Oversight of Diocesan Functions.

For more information and resources or to get involved, please visit
Gretchen Jezerc, CCOC Vice President
Kevin Hayes, CCOC President
John Costantino, Supporting Abuse Victims/Survivors & Their Families Focus Group Coordinator

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