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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

More than 300 Catholic priests abused thousands of victims for 70 years in Pennsylvania — with protection from Church leadership, according to a grand jury report out today.

The bottom line: A key institution in American life actively shielded monsters in its own ranks from justice and even worked to outlast statute of limitation laws, showing more concern for rapists and abusers than their victims.

"Priests were raping little boys and girls, and the men of God who were responsible for them not only did nothing; they hid it all," the report says.

"In [one] case, a priest raped a girl, got her pregnant, and arranged an abortion. The bishop expressed his feelings in a letter":

  • "This is a very difficult time in your life, and I realize how upset you are. I too share your grief."
  • "But the letter was not for the girl. It was addressed to the rapist."

Why it matters, in the grand jury's own words:

  • "We are sick over all the crimes that will go unpunished and uncompensated. This report is our only recourse."
  • "We are going to name their names, and describe what they did — both the sex offenders and those who concealed them."
  • "We are going to shine a light on their conduct, because it is what the victims deserve."
  • "And we are going to make our recommendations for how the laws should change so that maybe no one will have to conduct another inquiry like this one."
  • "We think it's reasonable to expect one of the world's great religions, dedicated to the spiritual well-being of over a billion people, to find ways to organize itself so that the shepherds stop preying upon the flock."

The big picture: There's more to come, the N.Y. Times reports.

  • "Catholics are calling for independent investigations into why Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington, was advanced up the hierarchy despite warnings to his superiors in Rome and fellow bishops that he had molested seminarians and young priests."

Go deeper: The worst revelations in the grand jury report

Go deeper

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
52 mins ago - Health

Experts fear a bad flu season on top of COVID

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Public health officials are warning that the U.S. may be on the verge of a dangerous double whammy: COVID and flu, spreading simultaneously.

The big picture: The Delta variant is still circulating across the U.S., and the Omicron variant isn't far behind. On top of that, experts see potential warning signs of a bad flu season, which could leave millions of Americans vulnerable and strain health care resources.

Updated 2 hours ago - World

Australia joins U.S. in diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Photo: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

Australia is joining the U.S. in a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games in protest of human rights abuses committed by China's government, Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed Wednesday.

Driving the news: After the Biden administration's announcement that U.S. officials won't attend the Games due to the ongoing genocide of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region of China, Morrison said at a Sydney briefing that Australia would follow suit as "it's the right thing to do."

Progressives to file resolution to strip Boebert's committee seats

Rep. Lauren Boebert walking through the Senate side of the U.S. Capitol earlier this month. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House progressives are planning to introduce a resolution on Wednesday to strip Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) of her committee assignments, according to a Democratic aide familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: The move, which was first reported by the Washington Post, comes as progressives — anxious to see the right-wing firebrand face retribution for her recent comments — have grown frustrated by Democratic leadership's inaction on the issue.