Few of us will doubt that the American child abuse scandal within the Catholic Church has reached crisis proportions. What started out as a trickle of scandal has mushroomed into a media torrent of cover-up reports and an ever increasing number of clerical-child abuse cases. These cases threaten to not only severely damage many dioceses across the country but have severely shaken the trust that so many of us had in the Shepards and priests of our Church. As difficult as it is to accept, adult Catholics understand that priests are human. We can understand that some priests do violate their promises and their vows. Such priests should be reported, treated and removed from active ministry. That much we Catholics can understand.
What Catholics do not understand is how priests accused of child-molestations could be moved from parish to parish and ministry to ministry. What Catholics do not understand, is the revelations by the media of bishops and Archbishops, ignoring multiple accusations and repeatedly ignoring accusations that one of their priests is a serial child molester. The serious charges against Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston serves as a prime example. Unfortunately, the crisis does not appear to be over.
Our Cardinals have been called to Rome for consultations. The Holy See has made statements acknowledging the seriousness of the problem but it is not enough. American Catholics want action and they want assurances that the bishops will take appropriate action and clean up this mess which is rightly laid at their feet. Next month the bishops of the United States will meet in Dallas to discuss a national response and policy. I hope that our bishops understand that June’s meeting in Dallas may be their last chance to restore the confidence and trust of American Catholics. Let’s hope and pray that the bishops understand this.
SFBay Catholic will provide time-sensitive links to the latest developments in the secular and religious press. Many of the reports will not be pretty. Some will definitely show an anti-Catholic bias. Some will misstate the problem, others will overstate certain aspects of the problem. As adult Catholics it is important that we remain aware of the issues involved and be alert when false issues or misinformation is being discriminated as truth.
SFBay Catholic will cover the issues and attempt to hi-light misstatements and falsehoods by those who would attempt to use the current scandal for their own purposes.