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Michael J. O’LoughlinSeptember 14, 2018
Pope Francis meets with officials representing the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops at the Vatican Sept. 13. At left is Msgr. J. Brian Bransfield, general secretary of the conference, and Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley of Boston, president of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. (CNS photo/Vatican Media) Pope Francis meets with officials representing the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops at the Vatican Sept. 13. At left is Msgr. J. Brian Bransfield, general secretary of the conference, and Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley of Boston, president of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. (CNS photo/Vatican Media) 

“It just doesn’t stop.”

That sentiment, shared on Twitter Thursday morning by Associated Press Vatican correspondent Nicole Winfield, captures the feelings of many Catholics trying to keep up with the seemingly endless cycle of new revelations about sexual abuse, harassment and misconduct in the U.S. church.

The crisis erupted anew in June, when Pope Francis removed former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick from ministry after he was credibly accused of sexual abuse against a minor more than four decades ago.

There is a seemingly endless cycle of new revelations about sexual abuse, harassment and misconduct in the U.S. church.

Since then, the retired Washington archbishop has faced more allegations of sexual abuse and harassment against adults; a grand jury report in Pennsylvania laid out details of alleged abuse against 1,000 children in that state; a former papal diplomat accused the Vatican of a cover-up and called on the pope to resign; and new allegations of mismanagement have been leveled against U.S. bishops.

Events in the United States and around the world prompted Pope Francis to announce that he is holding an unprecedented global meeting of church leaders to address sexual abuse in February. In the meantime, here is a roundup of developments in the crisis from the past several days.

Washington’s archbishop, Donald Wuerl, announces he will seek to step down

Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the archbishop of Washington who for weeks has faced calls to step down because of his record in managing abuse allegations as the bishop of Pittsburgh, wrote in a blog post on Thursday that he will meet with Pope Francis in the near future and urge the pope to accept his resignation.

“Those called to serve the church in a leadership capacity must recognize that we are to lead not only by word, but also by personal action. We must be prepared to do whatever is needed, including stepping aside,” he wrote. “This action on my part is an essential aspect of the healing so that this archdiocesan church we all love can move forward.”

The 77-year-old cardinal submitted his resignation nearly three years ago, as is customary when a cardinal turns 75. But he is an adviser to the pope and a member of the Congregation for Bishops who, until recently, enjoyed a reputation as a solid manager—presumably among the reasons the pope has declined to accept his resignation in the past.

Trouble for Cardinal Wuerl began in June when his predecessor, Archbishop McCarrick, was removed from public ministry by Pope Francis after a claim of sexual abuse against a minor from decades ago was substantiated. Later, other people claimed they had been victimized by Archbishop McCarrick as adults.

Cardinal Wuerl maintained he was unaware of any misconduct claims against Archbishop McCarrick.

Cardinal Wuerl maintained he was unaware of any misconduct claims against Archbishop McCarrick.

His challenges were compounded following the release in August of an 800-page grand jury report that detailed decades of sexual abuse against minors committed by Catholic priests in Pennsylvania.

When Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the former papal ambassador to the United States, released a 11-page letter on Aug. 25 calling on Pope Francis to resign over the Archbishop McCarrick case, Cardinal Wuerl faced even more pressure. Archbishop Viganò accused Cardinal Wuerl of lying when he said he was unaware of accusations against his predecessor.

Cardinal Wuerl initially defended his record as archbishop of Pittsburgh, a post he held from 1988 to 2006. He noted that he removed many accused priests from ministry, even fighting with the Vatican in one case. But critics said he did not do enough, leading to protests from victims’ advocates, Catholic school teachers in Washington and even his own clergy.

On Thursday, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York and a previous president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, defended Cardinal Wuerl during an interview on CNN. Cardinal Dolan called Cardinal Wuerl “a good friend” and said “he’s a tremendous leader.

“I kind of hope he doesn’t resign. We need him. He’s been a great source of reform in the past,” he added. “I trust him enough that if he thinks he needs to resign for the good of the church, he will. And I would respect that decision."

Cardinal Wuerl has not announced when he would meet with Pope Francis, and the Vatican said it is preparing a response to Archbishop Viganò’s claims.

Pope Francis meets with U.S. church leaders in Rome

On Sept. 13, Pope Francis met for more than two hours in the Vatican with four U.S. church leaders: Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S.C.C.B.; Archbishop José H. Gómez, vice president; Cardinal Seán O’Malley, head of the Vatican’s Commission for the Protection of Young People; and Msgr. Michael Bransfield, general secretary of the bishops conference.

Following the meeting, both the Vatican and the bishops’ conference stayed mum about what the five men discussed.

Cardinal DiNardo released an 88-word statement, in which he said the group “shared with Pope Francis our situation in the United States—how the Body of Christ is lacerated by the evil of sexual abuse.” But he offered no details about what steps bishops would take to confront the ongoing crisis.

Following the meeting, both the Vatican and the bishops’ conference stayed mum about what the five men discussed.

The cardinal announced in August that he wanted to meet with the pope to discuss the case of former cardinal McCarrick. Cardinal DiNardo said he planned to ask the Vatican for an apostolic visit, led by laypeople, to investigate who knew what and when about the former cardinal. Many Catholics are wondering how then-Archbishop McCarrick rose to one of the most prominent posts in the U.S. church if Vatican officials knew of complaints against him as early as 2000, as the Rev. Boniface Ramsey alleges.

Cardinal DiNardo, who is also facing accusations of mishandling abuse claims (see below), spoke to Catholic News Service following the Vatican meeting, but he did not confirm if he asked the pope about launching an investigation.

In a statement on Aug. 16, Cardinal DiNardo said the U.S.C.C.B. Executive Committee had established three goals: “an investigation into the questions surrounding Archbishop McCarrick; an opening of new and confidential channels for reporting complaints against bishops; and advocacy for more effective resolution of future complaints.”

When asked about the three priorities after the meeting with the pope, the cardinal told the Catholic News Service, “I think we can make movement on those things. I think we have to do it step by step.”

Vatican announces a global summit of bishops in February to discuss sex abuse

The United States is not alone when it comes to abuse and charges of cover-up by church leaders.

Authorities in Chile continue to investigate allegations of abuse there. A group of Catholic nuns in India accused a bishop there of committing rape. Church leaders in Germany are bracing for the release of a report detailing thousands of past cases of abuse.

To address these and other claims, Pope Francis announced on Sept. 12 that the heads of bishops’ conferences from around the world will gather in Rome next February.

Little is known so far about what will be discussed at the meeting, but a spokeswoman for the Vatican said it would address “the prevention of the abuses of minors and vulnerable adults.” There is no word on whether experts in sexual abuse will be invited to brief bishops or what outcomes may be possible.

New York attorney general launches investigation into mismanagement claims

Following the release of the Pennsylvania grand jury report, New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood’s office has begun a civil investigation into how church leaders in the state’s eight dioceses have handled allegations of abuse.

The investigation will pay particular attention to the Diocese of Buffalo, where Bishop Richard Malone is accused of mishandling sexual assault claims against priests there and of not being truthful about the number of priests accused of abuse. He is facing calls to resign but has said he will not stand down.

The investigation will pay particular attention to the Diocese of Buffalo, where Bishop Richard Malone is accused of mishandling sexual assault claims.

In March, Bishop Malone released a list of 42 priests he said had been credibly accused of sexual abuse. But a Sept. 12 report by Buffalo TV station WKBW said the real number may be higher than 100.

WKBW said the diocese may have changed the criteria for who to include on the list of priests so that it could claim no credibly accused priests were still in active ministry. According to the report, the initial list had more than 100 priests, including members of religious orders, deceased priests accused by a single victim and an “additional 20 accused priests who were kept off the list because they did not fit the diocese’s narrowly defined ‘categories’ for disclosure.”

That report follows claims that Bishop Malone, a former auxiliary bishop to Cardinal Bernard Law in Boston, mishandled allegations against other priests in Buffalo. The bishop has denied any wrongdoing.

More U.S. cardinals face allegations they have mishandled abuse claims

On Wednesday, the Associated Press reported that Cardinal DiNardo, president of the U.S.C.CB. and one of the four church leaders who met with Pope Francis this week, is being accused of mishandling allegations of abuse by a priest in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, where he is archbishop.

The Rev. Manuel LaRosa-Lopez was arrested on Sept. 11 in Conroe, Tex. He is accused of fondling two people when they were in their teens and he was the pastor of a church. The two alleged victims brought their complaint to Cardinal DiNardo as early as 2001. The archdiocese said it reported the claims to the Texas Child Protective Services.

Despite the allegations of abuse, Father LaRosa-Lopez was kept in ministry. He is currently the pastor of a church in Richmond, Tex., and the archdiocese vicar for Hispanic ministry.

Cardinal DiNardo has not responded to charges that he mishandled the church’s response.

Another church leader criticized for mishandling abuse claims is Cardinal Seán O’Malley, who was appointed archbishop of Boston in 2002 to repair the harm caused by the decisions of that city’s previous church leaders to reassign priests known to be sexual abusers.

As head of the Vatican’s sexual abuse commission, he has won praise for pressing Rome to move more swiftly on allegations of abuse and mismanagement by other bishops. But in recent weeks, critics have said that warnings to the Boston archbishop about then-Archbishop McCarrick went unheeded. The cardinal said he never received information about those claims because the Vatican commission is charged with making recommendations, not investigating claims. But Cardinal O’Malley said this week he now plans to “personally review” each new claim that comes to his office.

Critics have said there is no clear path for those who believe a bishop has mishandled allegations of abuse to report their concerns.

West Virginia bishop retires and faces an investigation into sexual harassment

Just before the meeting between Pope Francis and U.S. bishops, the Vatican announced that it had accepted the resignation of Bishop Michael Bransfield, who leads the diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, W. Va. The bishop turned 75 on Sept. 8 and submitted his resignation, as is customary. Often, bishops are allowed to continue on, but the Vatican quickly removed Bishop Bransfield from his post and announced that Baltimore Archbishop William Lori would lead an investigation into claims that Bishop Bransfield sexually harassed adults.

Bishop Bransfield is the cousin of Monsignor Bransfield, who was part of the Vatican meeting Thursday. Bishop Bransfield had been implicated in 2012 in an infamous Philadelphia clerical sex abuse case, but he denied ever abusing anyone and claimed vindication years ago.

….and the abuse crisis is unlikely to subside anytime soon

Some church leaders have called on dioceses and religious orders to release their files related to sexual abuse on their own before civil authorities step in. But time may be limited: Law enforcement officials in at least eight states have either launched similar investigations to Pennsylvania or are considering them.

Material from the Associated Press and Catholic News Service was used in this report.

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Tim O'Leary
5 years 10 months ago

Michael - this is a great summary. Comprehensive yet concise. I think one item should have been added, that of the accusation and exoneration of Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades, who was in Harrisburg when the now-discredited allegation rose. What is great is that this went from allegation to exoneration in a week (link below). It is a reminder that many innocents are likely to be caught up in the dragnet of the global investigations and they need our prayers as they will suffer ignominy until cleared and a cloud of suspicion will persist in some quarters for ever. For the sake of justice for all, I would like to see a standing independent panel of lay faithful Catholics and professional investigators at the ready to convict or clear accused clergy as rapidly as possible.


Michael Barberi
5 years 10 months ago

A good summary, but it lacks two important accusations and revelations that must be thoroughly investigated:

1. Vigano states, and we know it to be true, that It was JP II that promoted McCarrick to Cardinal in 2001 when his decades-long sexual abuse of seminarians was widely known by U.S. Bishops and Cardinals and by Vatican officials who received a letter from Fr. Ramsey about McCarrick's sexual abuse of seminarians.
> How did Pope JP II justify promoting McCarrick to Cardinal?
> Was the evidence about McCarrick withheld from JP II? If so, this creates a different but highly significant scandal. How did this happen?

2. Vigano also stated that Pope Benedict XVI sanctioned McCarrick in 2009-2010. However, there is evidence that McCarrick did not abide by these sanctions. Vigano also accused Pope Francis of lifting B16's sanctions on McCarrick.
> Did B16 sanction McCarrick?
> If so, why did B16 do nothing when McCarrick ignored the sanctions?
> Did Pope Francis know of sanctions that B16 imposed on McCarrick? If so, why did he lift them or do nothing to McCarrick who continued to ignore these sanctions? Did Pope Francis question if sanctions were in-effect on McCarrick since he never adhered to any of them?

I hope that a national (or international) lay-lead impartial committee with Apostolic participation will thoroughly investigate all accusations and evidence in the Grand Jury Report, the entire McCarrick scandal, and the Vigano's letter. This means having unfettered access to all documents, reports, emails, etc, and the ability to question priests, bishops, cardinals and Pope Francis and Pope Benedict XVI.

So far, we have heard nothing from DiNardo and Pope Francis. We need to bring all priests/bishops/cardinals....and potentially popes....found guilt of sexual abusive crimes, immoral sexual behavior, gross negligence, coverup, or the turning a blind eye to evidence of sexual abusive behavior, to appropriate justice and to institute significant structural, process and juridical reforms.

Anthony Noble
5 years 10 months ago

You should lead a lay investigation into all of points you made. You are spot on. It would be a blessing if the Vatican and the American Bishops follow your advice. As for Vigano, I don't believe he is a credible person though to be thorough, it would be important to review his claims so if nothing else they can be exposed as untrue.

Henry Brown
5 years 10 months ago

I am still puzzled how McCarrick ever became a Bishop ?

Is the vetting process less thorough than that for becoming a Seminarian ?

Then how was it that McCarrick was then made a Cardinal ?

How was evidence concerning his weaknesses ignored ?

You can pass new Canon Laws and say you will do this and that but until

this mystery is resolved, what good will it do if warning/claim are ignored ?

Phillip Stone
5 years 10 months ago

Please America, call this for what it really is :
1. A SCANDAL and not a crisis
2. Failure of duly constituted governance.
3. Dubious sacramental theology in both ordination and reconciliation.

The peak of the obscene clerical sexual abuse activity is well in the past, the practice of denial and cover-up continues and from where I stand there is no light visible at the end of that tunnel.

Al Cannistraro
5 years 10 months ago

Michael J. O’Loughlin and commenters: There clearly is a widely held assumption that these misbehaviors (to put it mildly) are a modern phenomenon. And many commenters here attribute them to normative changes originating at Vatican II some decades ago.

But what if there actually is more continuity, going back much further, involving all kinds of sexually-rooted "misbehavior?"

The celibate/chaste ideal represents a very high bar, realistically speaking., and it's only realistic to assume that many have not been able to clear it (and some might not have taken it seriously).

It might be that the only thing that has changed is modern communication, and the fact that modern parental and student norms and values have knocked clergy off their holy pedestals, thereby making it thinkable to call out the misbehavior and to label the bad actors as miscreants.

When I was an altar boy in the early 1960s it was widely rumored among us youths that two particular priests should be avoided, but there was no care about this among adults/parents as far as I knew.

Likewise violent forms of "discipline" and "keeping order" in Catholic schools was considered normal and necessary and even admirable in the names of "in loco parentis" and "building character." Looking back, I feel confident to say that those clerics who employed these methods with relish were acting out of pleasure (that probably had some sexual dimension).

My point is the problem should not be studied in a way that focuses the spotlights only on the sexual abuse of youths problem and the factor of more openly homosexual clergy. Rather, a longitudinal analysis of RC church culture over more than just recent decades might result in deeper and more useful understanding.

The following article is suggestive of what I mean:

Tim O'Leary
5 years 10 months ago

Al - I read your link. James Alison has arrived at several self-defeating assumptions. He says there are few straight men in the clergy, the less so the higher up the hierarchy. He says the fiercest enforcers of natural law teaching are homosexuals (the closeted kind) and the relatively few straight men don't really care about it. He says only the doctrine-denying homosexuals (the healthiest in more-or-less monogamous sex relationships) are the honest ones. And, he blames the homosexual culture in the clergy (the dishonest part) as the reason the Church cannot deal with child sex abuse (see quote below). So, in short, he unwittingly lends support to those laity who think the key cause of this crisis is a gay lobby in the Church. His solution is to change the perennial teaching of Holy Scripture, the Church Fathers, the Church Doctors, the Magisterium and the Catechism. He doesn't seem to realize that if he had his way, the Church would have denied its patrimony, its very self. No one could ever believe its teachings about anything. To use his own thought process - he is a closeted destroyer of the Church, whether he is conscious of it or not. He is suffering from closeted christophobia, and may not be conscious of this ideological orientation. The Catholic Church is protected by the Holy Spirit from teaching error, so, even if it has a massive gay lobby, the Church cannot succumb to their influence. Yet, several mainstream Protestant denominations are not so protected. They have followed his prescription. They are dying before our very eyes.

James Alison: "Tangentially, I hope it also hints at why such a mutually deceptive gay-heavy world has been so useless at dealing with child abuse. “Don’t ask don’t tell” can function as a way of genuine mercy among gay men who don’t want to cast stones in a glass house where the assumption is of relationships which may be illicit according to house rules, but are neither illegal nor pathological. But it can also be used (and certainly has been) as a cover for blackmail by those who have genuinely illegal and pathological behaviour to hide. The combination of these two has led to an inability to distinguish, in practice, between “naughty” gay men and “criminal” pedophiles."

Michael Barberi
5 years 10 months ago


I agree with most, but not all of what Fr. Alison said. For example, how can he know with certainty that most of the clergy is homosexual especially the hierarchy? On the other hand, he is a good voice within the Catholic Church in addressing the issue of homosexuality. He is encouraging a rethinking of this issue in honest and open dialogue based on our growing knowledge of this issue, inclusive of theological scholarship.

I continue to argue that the Holy Spirit leads us in truth in agreement and disagreement. The Holy Spirit protects the Church from error as the People of God (entire laity, clergy, theologians) and not merely and solely a pope or the magisterium in isolation. The protection from error of the 'Church' has been incorrectly defined for centuries to the hierarchical magisterium, full stop. What has been missing for so long is the lay magisterium, the sensus fidei, and the magisterium of theologians. All three magisterium together is the magisterium of the Church as the People of God.

The truth never changes but our understanding of truth does change as we grow in wisdom, knowledge, understanding, counsel, piety, fortitude and fear and love of God and neighbor. To whit, the history of our Church has taught us that some teachings that were taught as truth for centuries by popes and councils, were eventually changed. Perhaps, how the hierarchy and our Church treats homosexuals will change as well.

Tim O'Leary
5 years 10 months ago

This is an excellent proposal from Michael Schmitz in today's WSJ. The USCCB should lobby states to adopt the following into civil law: “A religious leader commits sexual assault if he or she is in a position of trust or authority over the complainant and uses said position to engage in sexual penetration or contact. Consent by the complainant is not a defense.” "Such laws would apply to clergy of every religion and sect. They would serve a clear secular purpose: protecting those unable to give real consent. In Lawrence v. Texas (2003), the Supreme Court ruled that states generally could not criminalize consensual sex between adults in the privacy of the home. But the ruling stated that this did not apply in the case of “those who might not easily refuse consent.” That includes victims of clergy sex abuse." "A false idea of mercy has allowed many acts of abuse that should be considered criminal—and some that already are—to go unchecked. Catholic bishops and the laity should work to criminalize every instance of clergy sex abuse. They should press for serious penalties, including mandatory jail time, as well as extended statutes of limitations." regarding the last point, they might match Pennsylvania's (report at any time before age 50). https://www.wsj.com/articles/stopping-the-priests-who-prey-on-adults-1536879580

Santy Asanuma
5 years 10 months ago

Michael, I am a born and raised Catholic in a small island nation of Palau. I am not going to defend evildoing from a priest or any person for that matter. However, I hope that for the sake of dealing with a real issue to keep our mind in an objective perspective. No doctor or lawyer are required to divulge information on his/her patients medical condition including being infected with HIV/AIDS or provide incriminating information to authorities that would incriminate his/her client. This are fundamental precepts and guidelines for all crucial institutions to fulfill their respective functions in order to secure the common good of society. Priests are governed by higher codes not to report on the sins of people including other priests. I hope to God that they will not change that. Likewise we need to find other ways to screen and better indoctrinate our priests to do what Jesus would in all they do as shepherds of the faith. To put things into perspective there are parents around the world doing this to their own children. It is not only priests. This a human evil that we need to rid of in our societies. Again this is no defense for the evil priests but calling to separate the sanctity of the church from the evil acts of individual priests.

Paul Mclaughlin
5 years 10 months ago

Could we stop with the discussion of sex and sexuality and focus on the root cause of the this problem and most of the other problems the Church faces - it is the uncheck abuse of power by a select group of men who establish and enforce the laws which is rooted in the errant teaching that when they are ordained they experience an “ontological change” that gives them a higher status and a place between God and the great unwashed - the rest of humanity.

This errant teaching had lead to the Vatican Bank Mess, the sexual abuse crisis and the subordination of the laity.....

The notion that the laity has to beg these same men to have a seat at the table is the problem.

The notion the upcoming Synod on the crisis has laity as guests is the problem.

Who is paying for these men who fail us - the great unwashed. Our role in the Church is pray, pay and shut-up.

Tim O'Leary
5 years 9 months ago

The Church needs to realize that the secular powers-that-be are coming after her, and will do everything in their power to sever the Church from the truth in the Scriptures. And there is a fifth column inside the Church that is aiding and abetting them. As Pope Francis has said, this attack is so fierce it must be demonic. If the Church falls, then the only defenders of the truth will be individuals following their consciences and paying for it with their livelihoods. Jack Phillips won in the Supreme Court, but they have come after him again. "The same day that the U.S. Supreme Court granted review in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, an attorney in Colorado called Phillips’s shop, Masterpiece Cakeshop, and requested a custom cake with a blue exterior and pink interior to celebrate a gender transition from male to female." https://www.denverpost.com/2018/08/19/colorados-against-masterpiece-cakeshop-jack-phillips/

Fernán Jaramillo
5 years 9 months ago

When the ranks are thin, the military accepts recruits whose fitness is in doubt. Given the psychological profile of the potential pedophile, doesn't the hierarchy know that some of these "recruits" among the very thin priestly ranks are a very high risk? I suspect the hierarchy knows.

If the ranks were more numerous, enlarged by married men of either homosexual or heterosexual orientation, could that reduce the risk? My personal sense is that an openly gay man in a committed relationship may be no more inclined to abuse than the straight man.

Tim O'Leary
5 years 9 months ago

Fernán - not sure if you have evidence for your last sentence. But, a sexually active homosexual, even in a committed relationship, would be a visible contradiction of Church teaching, which is far worse in terms of evangelization than thin ranks. It might be hard to believe for someone who doesn't believe, but abusing souls is worse than abusing bodies. Filling ranks with people who deny the faith is a solution only profferred by those who would prioritize sexual satisfaction over eternal salvation. Look at the Episcopalians. They will likely be extinct in a generation.

Fernán Jaramillo
5 years 9 months ago


Michael Barberi
5 years 9 months ago

I know that many people do not believe that the teachings of the magisterium should be changed. I get it. However, this is not my opinion, nor the opinion of the majority of Catholics and theologians and many bishops and priests. Based on a rethinking of Scripture, Tradition, Human Experience and Reason, a change in a teaching or in the pastoral application of a teaching may occur in the near or distant future as follows. Other teachings may change as well.

1. Voluntary celibacy and admission to the priesthood of married men.
> We already accepted married priests that left the Episcopal and Anglican Church. We also know that most of the Apostles were married men, and there is nothing in Scripture that says that a married man cannot be a Catholic priest.

2. Women as ordained Deacons and perhaps one day women as ordained priests.
> JP II's rationale for an all male priesthood is primarily based on the fact that Christ choose only men to be his Apostles. This rationale implies that if Christ wanted a woman as one of His Apostles he would have done so. Since Christ did not do so, this means he did not want women priests.
> IMO, this ignores society's view of women at that time. In other words, women in ancient times could not inherit or own property, and could not testify or be witnesses in a civil or religious Court or Tribunal. Essential they were second class citizens with limited rights and were considered inferior to men. Even in the 13th century, St. Thomas Aquinas believed that a woman was the defect of the human seed. In other words, he said that the male seed intends to produce a complete human being, a man, but at times it does not succeed and produces a woman.
> IMO, if Christ would have chosen a woman as one of His Apostles it would have severely challenged the credibility his message. Few men at that time would believe a woman especially when preaching about Scripture, Salvation and the Good News in Christ. While we know that some women were leaders in the early Church, they were not Apostles or chosen by Apostles to replace them upon their deaths. The choice of 12 men as Christ's Apostles is understandable given the socio-politcal-religious culture at that time. More importantly, it does not mean that a woman could not be a priest in the future of the Church.

3. Same-sex marriage or same-sex unions may undergo a rethinking as well.
> IMO imposing a life time of sexual abstinence from above (e.g., the hierarchy/magisterium) upon homosexuals (e.g., all those born with a same sex orientation/inclination) while at the same time denying them a marriage or permanent union puts an unjust and almost an impossible burden on them. Every heterosexual has a 'choice' between remaining single or to get married. Even a priest who takes a vow before God can leave the priesthood, get married and be able to express his love sexually to his spouse. A homosexual has only one choice....to live a lifetime of sexual abstinence even if he got married in civil ceremony, in a non-Catholic Christian Church or in a Jewish Synagogue.
> I hope that the Church will give consideration to homosexuals who enter into a permanent, faithful and loving relationship with a member of the same sex and who abide by the same responsibilities and obligations of heterosexuals who enter into a marriage or union. The Church needs to treat homosexuals with respect, dignity and sensitivity and not impose an almost impossible burden upon them for their salvation.

4. A solution to the sexual abuse scandal.
> All homosexual or heterosexual priests/bishops/cardinals/popes who are found guilty of sexually abusing minors, immoral sexual relations with adults, covering up such crimes and immoral sexual behavior, or guilty of turning a blind eye to evidence of immoral sexual behavior and of gross negligence of their responsibilities, should be defrocked. We need significant structural, process and juridical reforms now.

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