Over the decades, the church has made progress in addressing the issue, most notably under Pope Francis with his tribunal for bishops and the forced resignations of bishops who have failed in their handling of sex abuse cases. But all of that still must be accompanied by a serious qualification: None of it happened voluntarily. All of it was forced by public pressure.
“What remains is a void little spoken about but perhaps the longest-lasting and least-attended-to effect of the scandal. The failure of the bishops was not merely strategic or an example of extreme incompetence, though that all was certainly part of the case. The deeper failure was their betrayal, at a sacramental level, of the community they were charged to serve.
“In their deceptions and rationales, they put aside the God of love and justice and mercy. They put aside the God who summoned the little children. They put aside, for venal reasons, the God of life they so ardently preached.”
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