Rare interview with two young Camden County priests on abuse claims and their faith

- Father Adam Cichoski, ordained for only a year, says the Catholic Church provides joy.

“That's really what got me here. In the church there was hope and happiness nothing else could take its place,” said Fr. Cichoski.

For Father Ed Kennedy, only two years as a priest, it was his family's involvement in the church.

“I think growing that active in the church really planted that seed there's where that vocation started,” said Fr. Kennedy.

Both sat in the Our Lady of Hope Parish in Blackwood, NJ to speak of their faith in the wake of the devastating findings of the Pennsylvania grand jury report on priest sexual abuse.

When asked if the scandal has shaken his faith, Fr. Kennedy said, “I wouldn't say it’s shaken my faith, it’s given me resolve to be a good, holy priest.”

Both priests said the reports of over 1000 victims and more than 300 abusive priests in six Pennsylvania dioceses have brought scrutiny they couldn't have imagined when they began their training several years ago.

Fr. Cichoski said, “It's a stigma that's going to be out us, but something we have to overcome.”

“You get generalized people see the collar they think you're one of the predator priests, but that's not who we are,” Fr. Kennedy adds.

The priests say their parishioners are disappointed.  Some are angry, and the men are concerned that financial support for the church's good-works will suffer.

“Until all of this is taken care of we have to make sure first and foremost the most vulnerable are cared for,” said Fr. Kennedy.

They believe reform will come in a full accounting of the mistakes and a removal of what they call "flawed men."

“As a single Christian I'm committed to a chaste life focused on doing good for others. Being a priest is a challenge, but so is being a married person in today's world,” said Fr. Cichoski.

“It's heartbreaking that people were victimized. It's even more heartbreaking that people would cover up for themselves rather than face the problem head on,” adds Fr. Kennedy.

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