Some parishioners skipping mass amid Church sex abuse scandal

By: Rebecca Turco

Email: rturco@abc6.com

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – As the Catholic Church continues to deal with sex abuse by priests worldwide, the unsettling impact of it is being seen on the local level.

A number of churches are seeing fewer people in the pews. "I have noticed there are fewer parishioners visiting the church,” said Dionne Larson of Cumberland following the noon mass at the Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul in Providence. “There are fewer people coming to mass."

Priests across southern New England have been using their homilies to address the abuse and comfort Catholics upset with the Church. “As I say to everyone: you have every right to be angry,” said Father Jay Mello of St. Joseph’s and St. Michael’s Churches in Fall River. “I’m angry.”

The reverend has not seen his parishioners dwindle, though he is understanding of why people may want to leave. He’s encouraging everyone to keep the faith. "We don’t leave Jesus because of Judas," he said.

"We know the Lord will use this scandal, sin, filth, to bring about a greater purity in his church, because we cannot separate Christ from his Church," Mello explained.

He adds it’s the parishioners’ right to hold everyone accountable – from their priests all the way to the pope.

© WLNE-TV 2018