January 18, 2006

As calendar turns, crisis remains


“The church cannot and should not hide behind its lawyers or the law blindly and in all circumstances.”
-- The “Bennett Report” on the “Crisis in the Catholic Church in the United States,” February 2004

“We who have been given the responsibility of shepherding God’s people, will … continue to work to restore the bonds of trust that unite us. Words alone cannot accomplish this goal. It will begin with the actions we take in our general assembly and at home in our dioceses and eparchies.”
-- U.S. bishops’ “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People”

At their general assembly last November, the U.S. Catholic bishops didn’t discuss the clergy sex abuse crisis. At least publicly. It may have come up in private, but it’s no longer a regular agenda item. The bishops gave no sense of how they’re doing in attempting to reestablish “the bonds of trust” that have been so badly damaged. There is no public record of what they said if, indeed, they dealt with it at all.

It is likely that many, and probably most, of the church leaders assembled in that meeting room in Washington believe that they’ve made great strides in dealing with the crisis. In many ways they have. They’ve gone from complete denial to developing programs, subjecting themselves to studies and audits (albeit self-reported) and to public scrutiny.

Posted by kshaw at January 18, 2006 11:56 AM