February 24, 2005

Editorial: Bishops need to do more

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

From the Journal Sentinel
Posted: Feb. 24, 2005
The report last week by the Roman Catholic Church that it received 1,092 new allegations of sexual abuse of children against at least 756 priests and deacons in 2004 highlights how much work remains to be done by the nation's bishops in bringing this scandal under control. The good news is that church officials appear to recognize the reality: "The crisis of sexual abuse of minors within the Catholic Church is not over," one official said. The bad news is that it's not clear what additional steps the bishops are willing to take.

In fact, as we noted in December, church officials are moving to reduce the number of on-site audits of dioceses and their child protection programs. Given the history of coverup by officials and that allegations continue to be made about abuse that occurred in the 1960s and '70s, one would think it would be in the church's interest to continue on-site inspections. Such inspections would be in the church's interest because they could serve to reassure parishioners that the church is willing to do what is necessary to protect children.

Such reassurance seems necessary: A recent survey showed that the bishops' approval rating among Catholics was at 57% last fall, the lowest since the clergy sex abuse scandal broke in 2002. The survey also showed that parishioners are uneasy about the church's finances and that although the amount of money being given to the church remains steady, donations are coming from fewer people.

Posted by kshaw at February 24, 2005 07:50 PM