Archive for June 22nd, 2012
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—