November 17, 2005

Has the Catholic Church Put the Clergy Abuse Problem Behind It?



Thursday, Nov. 17, 2005

At the meeting of the Catholic Conference of Bishops this week in Washington, the Church continued to harp on its recent theme that clergy abuse is behind it. Last year, their former president, Bishop Wilton D. Gregory, similarly referred to the "terrible history" of child abuse by priests, as if it were merely an episode from the past.

Perhaps even more offensively, this week the Conference's current president, Bishop William Skylstad, told his fellow bishops this week that "[t]here is no question, brothers, that these past few years have taken a great toll on us." Adding insult to injury, he not only relegated the church's abuse to the past, but suggested the Church itself was somehow a helpless victim of its own crimes.

What the Church must do to truly separate itself from this history of abuse, involves much more than rhetoric alone. It involves revealing to the public the identity of the abusers that were, and are, in its midst, and who remain undisclosed. It is abundantly clear that the only way that is going to happen is if the law forces such disclosures -- Congress should exert financial pressure on the states to make it happen.

Posted by kshaw at November 17, 2005 11:26 AM