NCR on the Crisis

A powerful editorial by NCR on the sexual abuse crisis sweeping the church: 

The Holy Father needs to directly answer questions, in a credible forum, about his role -- as archbishop of Munich (1977-82), as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (1982-2005), and as pope (2005-present) -- in the mismanagement of the clergy sex abuse crisis.


We urge this not primarily as journalists seeking a story, but as Catholics who appreciate that extraordinary circumstances require an extraordinary response. Nothing less than a full, personal and public accounting will begin to address the crisis that is engulfing the worldwide church. It is that serious.

To date, as revelations about administrative actions resulting in the shifting of clergy abusers from parish to parish emerge throughout Europe, Pope Benedict XVI's personal response has been limited to a letter to the Irish church. Such epistles are customary and necessary, but insufficient.

With the further revelations March 26 by The New York Timesthat memos and meeting minutes exist showing that Benedict had to be at least minimally informed that an abuser priest was coming into the archdiocese of Munich and that he further had been assigned without restrictions to pastoral duties, it becomes even more difficult to reconcile the strong language of the pope in his letter to Irish bishops and his own conduct while head of a major see.

No longer can the Vatican simply issue papal messages -- subject to nearly infinite interpretations and highly nuanced constructions -- that are passively "received" by the faithful. No longer can secondary Vatican officials, those who serve the pope, issue statements and expect them to be accepted at face value.


The strategies employed so far -- taking the legal path, obscuring the truth, and doing everything possible to protect perpetrators as well as the church's reputation and treasury -- have failed miserably.

We now face the largest institutional crisis in centuries, possibly in church history. How this crisis is handled by Benedict, what he says and does, how he responds and what remedies he seeks, will likely determine the future health of our church for decades, if not centuries, to come.

It is time, past time really, for direct answers to difficult questions. It is time to tell the truth.

Read the rest here.

James Martin, SJ


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Joseph Kalwinski
7 years 11 months ago
Time for Vatican III - totally free of curial influence!
Mona Villarrubia
7 years 11 months ago
"Vatican III" would have to be held somewhere other than the Vatican, maybe Boston! It would have to involve equal representation between male and female Catholics who are professionals in their fields of education, medicine, psychology, psychiatry, spiritual direction. It would have to also include equal representation of Catholics who have been overwhelmed by the current sexual abuse crisis and are no longer made to feel welcome in the Church or who can no longer participate in the Church because of the grave and overwhelming harm suffered at the ''hands'' of its clergy. But who deserve to be able to reclaim their spirituality and the support of their faith community, or at least air their grievances publically.
And maybe representatives from the clergy and religious orders, too, perhaps as advisors or "listeners."


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