Pope Expresses Shame Over Pennsylvania Report on Sex Abuse

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Ron Bean's picture

"I'm really, really sorry" ain't gonna feed the bulldog.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Bert Perry's picture

....needs to not only express sorrow for what was done, but also needs to express what the course of action going forward is going to be.  My view is that the Pope's statement is not specific enough on what went wrong--it was not just a failure to handle things in a timely manner, but rather was a deliberate hiding of the problem from the public.  Moreover, it's not specific enough in what is going to be done.  I'd be fishing for an audit of all church records for the past 70 years, immediate removal of perpetrators from ministry, removal of those who shuffled around perpetrators from church to church and hid documents from police, and the installation of a world class child protection program like that of the Boy Scouts.  

One difficulty with Catholicism is that there is a specific grace that it supposed to be granted when a priest takes orders--it's one of the seven sacraments I believe--and hence "defrocking" (laicization) or returning a priest to the laity is a bigger deal than firing a pastor in our circles.  So the Pope has his work cut out for him. 

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Ron Bean's picture

I've watched high RC church officials on the news the last few days and when they've been asked hard questions regarding things like audits, settlements, and names it's like nailing Jell-o to a wall.

I predict that there will never be an independent audit of financial settlements or publishing of the names of those priests who abused children. The "we're really sorry campaign" will continue along with pleas for forgiveness and mercy.

If you haven't watched "Spotlight" you need to, if only to learn that this behavior isn't isolated or new. It's a plague!

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Bert Perry's picture

I'm not a TV watcher, but Ron's note rings true, and it strikes me that fixing the problem would probably require that a huge portion of bishops be laicized/defrocked, since they were the ones shuffling pedophile priests around, and that would require (a) a host of new bishops (b) at a time when a significant portion of priests are being shown the door.  It's an HR nightmare, really.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Bert Perry's picture

Whether or not I'm correct that one of the big obstacles to resolving these horrendous issues is succession--you can't simply go out on Monster or LinkedIn and find a new Catholic bishop, you've got to select from a dwindling population of priests--I have to wonder whether a lot of pastors almost deliberately choose not to raise up the next generation of leadership precisely to make it difficult to replace themselves if there are problems.  I can't prove that it happens, but if I were in leadership and wanted people to look the other way, that's one way to make yourself look indispensable.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Bert Perry's picture

Missouri has no statute of limitations on criminal prosecutions of sexual abuse of a child, and about 16% of Missourians, or one million, are Catholic.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Ron Bean's picture

Now the abuse of children is from Ireland.

How long is it going to take for this to be major news and there be widespread moral outrage? So far there's not been a ribbon, bracelet, or tee shirt note of indignation. 

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Bert Perry's picture

Ron, I'd argue it's worldwide--Pennsylvania, Boston, Minnesota (bankrupted the diocese, actually), MIssouri, Ireland.  And I'm guessing that as prosecutors figure out that it's a problem born of their episcopal system, more and more are going to start investigations.  All you need is one case where something was hidden past the statute of limitations, and you go for all documentation in that case--which will lead to others by pointing at a bishop hiding things.

Let's just say that the Catholics weren't as "smart" about this as the Mob or the Obama administration.  This is coming out, and it is a good thing.  We now need to pray that observant fundagelical leaders start asking questions and getting these things out in the open from our movement before they blow up in our faces.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.