The shock of these mass resignations creates an opportunity and momentum that Francis should seize upon to implement the tribunal he proposed three years ago. No more delays. He should act now. (National Catholic Reporter)
Recent weeks have seen several milestone events in the Catholic Church’s decades-long struggle to come to terms with the scandal of clergy sexual abuse and its cover-up by the hierarchy. The headline event was the mass resignation of the Chilean episcopate May 18. While at press time Pope Francis had not yet formally accepted any of the resignations and the full implications of the resignations are still being sorted out, the significance of the event cannot be in doubt.
The contrast between the meeting of Chile’s bishops and Francis in mid-May and Francis’ encounter with journalists in late January could not be starker. In January, Francis twice, very publicly, dismissed the testimony of abuse survivors. He accused them of ‘calumny’ against bishops they accused of ignoring reports of abuse and covering up for abusing clergy.
Within days of making those statements, however, Francis had appointed Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta to investigate the situation in Chile. By April, Francis had received a 2,300-page report, and in an extraordinary public letter, the pope admitted — confessed may be a more appropriate word — making “grave errors” in judgment about Chile’s sex abuse scandal. He invited the survivors he had disparaged to Rome to beg their forgiveness and he summoned the bishops to discuss repairing the damage from the scandal.
By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff — Read more …