Archive for June, 2012
The Congregation for the Causes of the Saints, with Pope Benedict XVI’s approval, has officially opened the cause of American Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen for canonization. At this time, let’s not forget his charge to us —
Who is going to save our Church? Not our bishops, not our priests and religious. It is up to the people. You have the minds, the eyes, the ears to save the Church. Your mission is to see that your priests act like priests, your bishops like bishops and your religious act like religious.”
Jerry Sandusky’s conviction of 45 counts of child abuse pushed Msgr. Lynn’s child endangerment conviction to the back pages of the news, but those who needed to hear about Lynn’s verdict, heard it — “not a chancery official in the land can think that covering up for an abuser will protect the institution.”
This parish priest points out from the pulpit regarding clergy sexual abuse and Msgr. Lynn’s conviction on child endangerment that “those directly in charge, the bishops, have yet to claim or accept responsibility for their own horrific part in this painful scandal.”
This blog was posted June 23 by a theologian/educator close to the situation in the Philadelphia Archdiocese and offers another view on Msgr. Lynn’s conviction on June 22 —
Although the conviction of Msgr. William Lynn today in Philadelphia of child endangerment is a sad day for the Catholic Church, the conviction at least imposes a measure of accountability on the Church hierarchy for covering up the sexual abuse of children by Catholic clergy.
For years, Voice of the Faithful and other advocates have called on the Church to hold accountable bishops and other officials who abetted abuse by keeping it secret. Lynn is the first, and thus far the only, member of the Church hierarchy who has been held accountable for covering up abuse, and it took civil authorities to force that accountability.
Voice of the Faithful has been calling for years for transparency in the way the Church handles clergy sexual abuse and for accountability of those who have abetted abuse by keeping it secret.
Sadly, the civil authority now has had to bring to justice a Church official for endangering children by helping to keep their abusers’ crimes hidden instead of the Church being completely forthcoming years ago at the time the abuse occurred.
The Roman Catholic Church cannot hope to heal the deep wounds to victims, their families, faithful Catholics and the Church itself until the hierarchy is completely honest about this scandal and demonstrates a commitment to justice and accountability at least equal to that displayed by the court in Philadelphia.
Voice of the Faithful once again calls on the Vatican and the bishops to hold accountable those among them who knowingly failed to remove child sex abusers from the clerical ranks.
Well, the bishops certainly don’t appear to have been thinking about the declining number of priests in the United States. Or the closing schools and parishes. Or the loss of moral authority stemming from bishops covering up clergy sexual abuse. Or the indictment of a sitting bishop. Or the trial of a former office of clergy head. Or the attacks on theologians for acting like theologians. Or the backlash against criticism of U.S. nuns choosing to work with the poor and marginalized instead of promoting the bishops’ agendas. Or adjusting their own Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, which some of their own members don’t follow and in which loopholes haven’t been tightened despite recommendations by their own review board. Or the right of individual conscience, which would be the ultimate religious freedom.
From Voice of the Faithful’s point of view, accountability for clergy sexual abuse, transparency in Church governance and finances, lack of transparency that promotes scandal, and acknowledgment of the laity’s particular charismata, were farthest from the bishops’ minds.
Here’s a look at some of the media reports about the recent USCCB meeting. Included in the list are the bishops’ National Review Board’s 10th-year report and recommendations regarding clergy sexual abuse—
The U.S. bishops’ campaign for religious freedom, “Fortnight for Freedom,” which kicks off today, is going to cost a great deal of money. Who is paying for it?