In the midst of the sex abuse scandal, what do the People of God want from church hierarchy?

In San Diego, attendees prepare for a public gathering about the issue of clergy sexual abuse. (CNS photo/David Maung)

The allegations of abusive behavior made against Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and the stunning report by the Pennsylvania grand jury were a one-two punch that had the members of our Jesuit parish in Baltimore, like Catholics everywhere, reeling. To create a forum for discussion, our pastor organized two evenings during which parishioners could come together, share our feelings and develop recommendations for our church going forward. I was asked to facilitate the discussions.

Many of the participants in these meetings expressed the same conundrum:

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“If I were considering joining an organization like this, would I? If I would not join it, why should I stay in it?”

“Why am I still a Catholic?”

As one young woman poignantly commented: “I was a child in 2002 when I first heard about priests abusing children. This is the only church that I have known. How can I continue to defend it?”

Since the early 2000s, there has been so much publicity about incidents of misconduct by individual clergymen that these facts had been accepted as simply unfortunate aberrations. By contrast, the recent reports, as well as assertions that Pope Francis and Pope Benedict XVI overlooked information about abusive priests and bishops, have generated a new focus: How could so many bishops have concealed these abuses for so long and exposed children to the irreparable damage done by priests who were retained in ministry after the bishops were aware of abuse? How have men who were themselves abusers or who tolerated abuse been able to advance through the hierarchy to greater positions of power and influence, even though their colleagues in the church knew of, or at least suspected, this despicable behavior?

While Catholics continue to be outraged by specific incidents of abuse by individual priests, the new crisis puts increased emphasis on the perceived ongoing failure of the institutional church itself. This loss of trust in the leadership of the church makes this the most significant crisis confronting the church since the Reformation.

Further rounds of “apologies” and requests for prayers are inadequate. We have heard all that before. The resounding theme at my parish event was that it is now time for the church to act and not simply issue public statements, no matter how sincere and abject.

Apart from situations like that of Cardinal McCarrick in which a bishop or cardinal personally may have engaged in acts of sexual abuse, the primary concern was that perverse values of careerism and collective protection of fellow bishops have displaced the clergy’s duty to protect their flock. If one of the marks of the true church is that it is holy, how could it be that such a significant and ubiquitous flaw infects so many of its leaders? At least as perceived, these failings are the product of the church’s institutional structure and episcopal culture.

If one of the marks of the true church is that it is holy, how could it be that such a significant and ubiquitous flaw infects so many of its leaders?

Will the leaders of the church recognize how severe the present crisis is? Too many bishops may try to wait out the firestorm and to see whether it will “blow over” as just another minor disruption in the 2000-year arc of the church. But it is in the best interest of the church to act promptly, to avoid, as one speaker put it, “the constant drip, drip, drip of scandal year-by-year and state-by-state,” or as another speaker described it, the “death by a thousand cuts.” Catholics searching for spiritual guidance and fulfillment deserve to have a church that is not continuously buffeted by episodic disclosures of scandalous abuse and cover-up.

The discussions generated a variety of suggestions for change and “reform.”

Transparency. Perhaps the most persistent theme is the need for greater transparency concerning the nature and scale of abuses in the local dioceses. This must involve complete disclosure of all of the priests who were the subject of allegations of abuse that were found credible or were the subject of settlements. This may require opening up the canonical “secret archives” as was done in Pennsylvania. If victims wish to remain anonymous, their names and other identifying information may be redacted.

Another element of necessary transparency involves disclosure of settlements that the diocese has paid in dealing with victims or alleged victims. To understand the scale of the problems that a diocese has addressed, the faithful are entitled to know what has been spent. All resources expended for this purpose have come from the laity, who have contributed cash and property to the church.

This transparency must involve complete disclosure of all of the priests who were the subject of allegations of abuse that were found credible or were the subject of settlements.

One approach to be considered is the “truth and reconciliation commission,” which has been used in other situations to restore harmony to a riven community. This mechanism requires full acknowledgement of the underlying abuses, including personal acceptance of responsibility when feasible, coupled with a willingness on the part of the aggrieved—here, abuse victims and representatives of the People of God—to complete the reconciliation and healing and to restore trust and confidence.

Accountability for Bishops. As the situations in Pennsylvania and elsewhere illustrate, bishops are largely unaccountable to anyone. The 2002 Dallas Charter and Norms detail how the church should deal with misbehavior by priests, but they say nothing about how a bishop who is complicit in the problem of sexual abuse can be held accountable. Canon Law also provides no explicit mechanism for dealing with bishops who cover up abuse. Except in one or two of the most notorious and egregious cases, even Pope Francis has taken no action regarding bishops who have abused their position of sacred trust on these matters. Before Francis’ tenure, it was virtually impossible to find any action by any pope in recent centuries dealing with a bishop who has failed in any of his responsibilities to his flock. Immunity from any episcopal accountability is no longer acceptable.

But Christ’s own willingness to die for us on the basis of false charges means all of us, including bishops, are called to lay down our lives for the benefit of others.

In no other institution worthy of respect are the leaders, once installed, immune from real and practical accountability for their performance in office, including maladministration and abuse. There is no principled reason why the church’s leaders should not be held responsible for serious misconduct or incompetence and made subject to concrete and meaningful consequences for those breaches.

A new system under which members of the hierarchy are actually held accountable for the kinds of misdeeds that have been exposed over the past 20 years—namely, massive, worldwide cover-ups of the sexual abuse of thousands of children—is necessary to restore the laity’s trust.

Moreover, the consequences of serious episcopal abuse or maladministration must be real, not just mere formalities. Merely depriving a church leader of some of the external trappings of office is a grossly inadequate response. Current church policy calls for the dismissal from the clerical state for even a single act of sexual abuse by a priest. A similar canonical penalty must be available to deal with serious abuses by bishops and actually imposed in appropriate cases.

Even without extraordinary papal intervention, national conferences of bishops, including the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, could adopt a policy statement urging brother bishops to resign voluntarily if they have been identified as improperly protecting abusive priests. For the greater good of the church, voluntary resignation may be appropriate, even if the individual bishop denies culpability and claims bona fides. This course may involve personal sacrifice. But Christ’s own willingness to die for us on the basis of false charges means all of us, including bishops, are called to lay down our lives for the benefit of others. Cleansing the church of the stain of scandal falls within this scriptural principle.

Appointing bishops while remaining willfully ignorant of information from persons whom they purportedly have been serving is inexcusable.

Lay Involvement in Selecting and Monitoring Bishops. No one at my parish called for lay election of bishops, by acclamation or otherwise, as was done in the early church. Nor did anyone contend that the laity should have authority over the tenure of bishops. Nevertheless, there were frequent references to the Protestant Reformation, which addressed many serious deficiencies in church practices that had become embedded over the centuries. In the counter-reformation, the church responded by making fundamental reforms that strengthened the church and gave it durability to survive another 500 years. In a culture that is increasingly nonreligious or irreligious, especially among young people, it is not much of an exaggeration to say that the health of the church going forward, if not its very survival, may require comparable soul-searching and an equally dramatic response.

The process of recommending candidates to the Congregation for Bishops is an entirely clerical process with little or no input from the laity. But priests being considered for elevation to the episcopacy have the laity as their constituents, and members of the laity may have valuable, and sometimes vital, information about the candidates. Although some sexually abusive priests were able to fool their congregations into thinking of them as “good priests,” many others were regarded with suspicion based on personal observations or credible reports of misconduct. In any prudently run organization, authorities who are considering a person for promotion should have access to such information, at least to consider it “for what it is worth.” Appointing bishops while remaining willfully ignorant of information from persons whom they purportedly have been serving is inexcusable.

Can there be any doubt that responsible women would have understood and advised bishops that no other interests could have justified exposing children to sexual abuse?

Similarly, members of the laity may well be well positioned to identify serious problems with the conduct of a bishop once in office. The laity can have valuable information about a bishop’s abusive behavior (not solely sex abuse) or about financial mismanagement or corruption. There is no evident doctrinal reason why laypersons should not be in a position to call upon this information as part of a process of reviewing the bishop’s performance. This role can be formalized through the institution of a diocesan review board, composed substantially of lay members, with access to diocesan records, that could initiate procedures for further action by appropriate church authorities.

Greater Involvement by Women in Church Administration. More than half of the Catholics in the pews are women. Even in an era of increased professional opportunities for women, it is women who continue to exercise primary responsibilities for rearing children, which includes inculcating in them a love for the faith. Putting aside the issue of possible ordination of women to the priesthood or diaconate, the presence of women in greater positions of authority within the administration of a diocese would be highly beneficial to the church.

Can there be any doubt that responsible women would have understood and advised bishops that no other interests could have justified exposing children to sexual abuse? Women participating in the governance of a parish or diocese almost certainly would have given far more weight to protecting vulnerable children from predatory priests than many bishops did.

Improvements in Formation of Priests and Priestly Life. It is now well recognized that acceptance of candidates into a seminary at age 13 or 14 was a fraught practice. Apart from taking care in establishing the minimum age at which seminarians may be accepted, it is important to assure early and continuing psychological monitoring of candidates for the priesthood and in the early years of their priesthood. The quality, sophistication and reliability of psychological evaluations now are far better than they were when most of the abusive priests were trained and ordained. The church should take advantage of these modern tools for screening men for suitability for ministry as well as their continued service in ministry, offering them psychological support when necessary.

This menu of crucial reforms requires the episcopacy to act swiftly, with compassion and not out of the fear that led bishops down a path of denial and cover-up. In turning to the laity for consultation and assistance, the church will become more fully an inclusive institution that acts out of love and care for our most vulnerable, our children. Only then shall we have the true church of the People of God.

[Explore America's in-depth coverage of Sexual Abuse and the Catholic Church.]

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Michael Barberi
5 months 3 weeks ago

The author forgot a most important requirement that the People of God want from the hierarchy:

> A permanent independent lay-lead committee or permanent ecclesial investigative office at the diocese or conference of bishops level that will investigate all allegations of sexual abuse by priests in a diocese or dioceses covered by a conference of bishops, but also serious allegations of sexual abuse and/or coverup by bishops. Also, any conclusions of such investigations must be fully transparent and made public. Additionally, those found guilty must be removed from the priesthood and ecclesial duties.

J Cosgrove
5 months 3 weeks ago

It is not sexual abuse of children which I believe at this time is not a major problem though at one time was. But sexual misconduct in the priesthood. That seems to be the real problem today, They are not living their vows. I live in the New York Archdiocese and we all saw a video a couple weeks ago. It was about abuse of minors. I said afterward they are avoiding the real current issue. Also I would follow the money.

Mike Macrie
5 months 3 weeks ago

I also agree in “ Following the Money “ including Real Estate Donated and Real Estate Sold, open the damn books.

A Grady
5 months 3 weeks ago

Excellent!

A Grady
5 months 3 weeks ago

Excellent suggestion!

A Grady
5 months 3 weeks ago

Excellent suggestion!

Cynthia Mathews
5 months 3 weeks ago

I love this idea.

Jeffrey More
5 months 3 weeks ago

Solid, sensible ideas - a good beginning. I'd add the following:
With respect to financial transparency, every detail of the finances of each diocese and each parish within each diocese should be disclosed yearly in the same detail required of public corporations by the Federal securities laws. This would include certification of financial statements.
With respect to accountability, ALL bishops and cardinals should voluntarily resign, irrespective of whether they've been accused of abuse or covering up abuse. The rationale of Christ-like self-sacrifice for the benefit of others advanced by Ms. Lacovera would apply. The Church needs to be cleansed, and we can't rely on these people to self-police themselves. As proof, one only has to consider the ecclesiastical game of three-card monte these people engaged in in 2002 when they enacted the Dallas Charter, applicable to priests, without making it clear to their marks (aka the People of God), that the Charter wouldn't apply to themselves.
With respect to selecting and monitoring bishops, the laity should be given the preeminent role. If the Vatican can cut a deal with the Chinese Communist regime whereby the ChiComs appoint bishops and the Vatican rubber stamps the appointments, we should all get such a deal.

A Grady
5 months 3 weeks ago

Yes!

lynne miller
5 months 3 weeks ago

Agreed. If all voluntarily resign, the Pope need only accept the resignations that are necessary.

German Otalora
5 months 3 weeks ago

I do fully agree

J. Calpezzo
5 months 3 weeks ago

To defrock Roger Mahony and the others responsible for the crime of the century. Not just "accept their resignations." Benedict should get the boot and JPII de-sainted. The people in the pews are not stupid.

Bill McIntosh
5 months 3 weeks ago

St. JOHN PAUL II was disgusted by homosexual priests. Don't blame it on him. What we want is to stop the gayification of the Church. We need solid doctrinally sound seminaries; Eucharistic adoration across America and especially in JESUIT COLLEGES and we need to kick out the gay priests especially in the seminary admission areas. If we have solidly prtodox bishops and beautiful churches with an active pro-life outreach and strong Marian devotion we will fill the Seminaries with holy young priests. We need to urge families to be large. Large families are where priestly vocations can thrive. Don't telle that if we kick out the queers from.the Seminaries and chanceries the Church will be laid bare. We will gain ten times more good and holy priests. Most of the sex abuse is sex abuse of young adolescents by homosexual priests.

Dave Buckley
5 months 3 weeks ago

if you can't have a decent discussion without your bigoted hate leave

Dave Buckley
5 months 3 weeks ago

if you can't have a decent discussion without your bigoted hate leave

lynne miller
5 months 3 weeks ago

Besides being untrue, the accusation of homosexuality as being the cause of the priest abuse problem is simply a way of dodging the questions. Looking into the inadequate preparation of seminarians for a life of celibacy by the seminaries is one of the biggest problems. Bigotry, as evidenced here, is another, making it impossible to clearly evaluate what is really going on. Having a scapegoat is an easy way to avoid looking for the truth.

A Grady
5 months 3 weeks ago

Yes!

Cynthia Mathews
5 months 3 weeks ago

Lynne Miller, you are so right! The confusion of homosexuality with pedophilia is so wrong/misinformed.

Javier von Sydow
5 months 3 weeks ago

There are such things as trolls; do not overlook this as you are seeping through the conversation...

J. Calpezzo
5 months 3 weeks ago

Francis will be judged on this.

Rocky Balsamo
5 months 3 weeks ago

The people of God want and deserve a full accounting of every Catholic Diocese world-wide. We need to fling open the doors and ask injured persons to come forward so that we can acknowledge the pain that we've caused, apologize for our intense lack of care, and promise to do better. People have said that this could financially bankrupt the church. So be it. Better for the church to seek-to-exist because she did the right thing, than to watch her bleed-out because she failed to be honest about our broken humanness. We will never be able to move on from this until we call into the light all who have been hurt and promise both spiritual and financial restitution. Not doing so will eventually destroy the institutional church. And this can only be accomplished with a full complement of the laity at the helm.

Franklin Uroda
5 months 3 weeks ago

To stay in or join? Hmm. So, quite a few of our spiritual guides-priests and bishops-over the years have messed up the spiritual vitality of a lot of Catholics. If the discussion was about the medical profession, and doctors of our bodies and minds, would anyone consider not going to a hospital or a clinic because of the ineptitude and stupidity of many physicians? I don't think so. We'd get the bums fired/jailed and hire a crew of competent practitioners and make sure that they were capable of taking care of us.

Jason & Amy Rogers
5 months 3 weeks ago

I like this analogy @FranklinUroda

lynne miller
5 months 3 weeks ago

Agreed!

lynne miller
5 months 3 weeks ago

Agreed!

Doris Barrett
5 months 3 weeks ago

Many 'events' which happened 20 and more years ago, where tolerated. I am not defending the perpetrator nor the priest or Bishops who kept silent about the offenses. Please ask yourself this question: if a member of your family abused a child/teenager, would you turn him/her in???? There are many guilty on this account.

Carol Ackels
5 months 3 weeks ago

Yes, I would not hesitate. If a member of your family committed murder would you turn him/her in? If a member of your family committed horrible acts of terror upon a community would you turn him/her in? Abuse is the crime of murder perpetrated by a terrorist wherein the victim of the crime keeps living. Yes, I absolutely would notify authorities of any person I knew had committed such horrific acts and was such a threat to the well being of my community.

Jason & Amy Rogers
5 months 3 weeks ago

An excellent article but I would encourage the author not pull her punches: "Putting aside the issue of possible ordination of women to the priesthood or diaconate, " Why put this aside? It is a fundamental reform, the only that would elevate women from second-class status in the Roman church. To me, it seems less radical and easier to implement on the ground than asking for married priests.

Carol Ackels
5 months 3 weeks ago

I am appreciative of the author's observance and agree. But honestly, what I currently want from the hierarchy is that they sit down, shut-up, and listen ---for a good long six months or year or two or three. The exterior hierarchy has no hope of transformation until the difficult work of transforming the interior hierarchy is at least underway if not completed. Such transformation begins with encounter and listening. My sense it will take a long while of listening before anything can become clear for transformative leadership.

lynne miller
5 months 3 weeks ago

Very well put!

Mike Bayer
5 months 3 weeks ago

Every bishop and cardinal need to resign and return to the regular priesthood. Each diocese needs to an elected representative body of all clergy (priests, deacons, nuns, and brothers) and laity to choose their bishops for fixed terms. Anyone holding a title now or their staff would be ineligible.

The rot continues because of the cover-ups from the top down. The Church needs a fresh start and to clean out all Rome trained and appointed bishops.

Also, the issue is not gay priests, but rather why won't straight men consider the priesthood? Could it be that cloistering them in a rectory without normal human contact is the root of the vocation and abuse problems? Just what kind of man is the Church attracting? And yes the Church needs women and married priests! Nostalgia for the past and indoctrination through Eucharist Adoration and Marian Devotions will not solve the problems.

John Mack
5 months 3 weeks ago

Catholic clergy are trained in obedience to rules.They do not get rained in ethics and moral decision making.

John Mack
5 months 3 weeks ago

Auditors. Independent, laity, not necessarily all Catholic. Auditing a set of ethical principles (not rules) and how they are being applied or not applied. On a yearly or two to three year basis they audit bishops on the governance of their dioceses and on their personal behavior. They also audit a sampling of priests and parishes, covering all priests/parishes over a 3 to 5 year period. They report to a person in Rome with a moral and legal obligation to order action. They also interview clergy to identify their needs and make suggestions on how those needs can be met. They also deliver their reports directly to parishioners, and these reports to parishioners cannot be censored or delayed or suspended.

John Mack
5 months 3 weeks ago

Auditors. Independent, laity, not necessarily all Catholic. Auditing a set of ethical principles (not rules) and how they are being applied or not applied. On a yearly or two to three year basis they audit bishops on the governance of their dioceses and on their personal behavior. They also audit a sampling of priests and parishes, covering all priests/parishes over a 3 to 5 year period. They report to a person in Rome with a moral and legal obligation to order action. They also interview clergy to identify their needs and make suggestions on how those needs can be met. They also deliver their reports directly to parishioners, and these reports to parishioners cannot be censored or delayed or suspended.

A Grady
5 months 3 weeks ago

Excellent article with many good ideas for example have the laity elect/select bishops. I would add we need WOMEN PRIESTS! Also get rid of Catholic Radio which acts like it’s 1955 and the Church is this absolute authoritarian organization that we are supposed to love and obey and bow down to and fear. And say a million rosaries and ignore our own experience of reality. “Begotten not made” end the sexist bullshit!

THOMAS E BRANDLIN, MNA
5 months 3 weeks ago

I've said this many times and America Media will not publish letters from those of us who think differently from the America Media party line: In his letter to me of 12 July 2004 Cardinal Avery Dulles made the supremely confident statement, "Sooner or later, the truth will out, and God will vindicate his faithful servants." And now, 14 years later, we see the truth beginning to emerge with Archbishop Vigano's courageous revelations of the corruption and patronage in the Church that extends to the Chair of Peter. The truth will out; but, it will not be an easy ride without pain, suffering, and sacrifice. The answer is for each one of us to accept God's grace and to conform our lives as closely as we possibly can with the Christ-life. The grace of that action on the part of each of us will rise-up like a tidal wave gathering strength to cleanse the Church from the bottom to the top. It is readily becoming apparent, in an ever larger degree, the change and reform is not going to come from the top in a downward direction. It will be an epic fight to become the Church we are meant to be and to rid ourselves of the filth and rot that have infested us for a very long time. Pope Francis and alot of the people under him down to many of the bishops in local dioceses need to resign - NOW!

THOMAS E BRANDLIN, MNA
5 months 3 weeks ago

I'm surprised America Media doesn't list me as, "Deacon Thomas E. Brandlin, M.N.A." The few times I've dealt with the organization they have always acknowledged my vocation.

Carol Ackels
5 months 3 weeks ago

And then what?

HERBERT ELY MR/MRS
5 months 3 weeks ago

Financial transparency will help combat clericalism. Every diocese and parish should meet the standards set by Voice of the Faithful. The. Laity’s attitude should take a clue from Reagan’s proverb: “Trust, but verify.”

Greg Krohm
5 months 3 weeks ago

Good article but I would make one correction. The author says: "...Pope Francis has taken no action against bishops who have abused sacred trust..."
In 2014 he dismissed Bishop Plano, Paraguay
In 2014 he "arrested" bishop Wesolowski, papal nuncio to Dominican Republic for notorious sex abuse of minors
In 2015(?) he remove Bishop Flynn from Kansas City for covering up sex abuse charges against a priest
In 2018 he dismissed three Chilean bishops for covering up sex crimes
In 2018 he is considering removing Bishop Wilson, Australia, accused
fellow bishops of sex crimes
In 2018 he secured the resignation of Cardinal McCarrick from the College of Cardinals (something not done in centuries)
Doubtlessly more to come.

The above list probably leaves out a few names and doesn't count removals from office for non-sex related matters (Germany and Memphis)

The number of actions taken by Francis to remove bishops probably exceeds the total combined number of such actions by the previous two popes.

James M.
5 months 3 weeks ago

If I may, a slight correction: Cardinal Billot was removed from the Sacred College by Pius XI in 1927.

Blessed Louis Aleman was deprived of all honours, including the cardinalate, in 1440 for supporting the antipope Felix V, and restored to them in 1449 for inducing him to resign.

The McCarrick case is notable because he lost the title, and not only - as in two other modern cases - the exercise of the duties associated with it.

Greg Krohm
5 months 3 weeks ago

Thanks for the additional information. I really dislike the "piling on" of Pope Francis after the Vigano "testimonies." He has made mistakes for sure, but has been better on this score than previous popes.

Greg Krohm
5 months 3 weeks ago

Comment dropped

Mike LaFrance
5 months 3 weeks ago

We are the Body or Christ. We are the Church. Do we respect each other as The real wpresence of Christ? If we did, then we would be inclusive, merciful, and respectful. Children would not be lessor than and women would be treated equal to men. If I thought the church is the priests and bishops, I would have left it as many have abandoned it. We are the Body of Christ and are called to integrity—to own the Gospel & be Christ to all.
Christ never said he was the greatest, but did say the little ones are and did accept the role of Mary M. to be the first to tell the Good News.

Joseph Colletti
5 months 3 weeks ago

Our Lord Jesus Px said: " I have come to call sinners not the just." Too much condemnation of bishops, cardinals, priests, deacons, popes. The Church has to deal with this. The Church is not perfect in its administration; human frailty is part and parcel of the the Catholic Church. This whole scene that started back in the 80"s mildly and then erupted into a major church earthquake with the Boston explosion to the extent that a cardinal had to leave to seek asylum/sanctuary for fear of a linch mob after him, and we wonder why there is terrorism today and riots and violence and violent demonstrations, the trouble makers started long ago to incite the rumblings in 1948 in the church and it didn't take siege until after death of pius 12th; the troublemakers waited with great longing for that day and hastened it by his poisoned death like the poison death of pius 11th and john paul 1st. Now, we have a tsunami with scandals out of the episcopal arena involving seminaries and seminarians. Notoriety and the public media, transparency as it is called, does absolutely nothing but the direct violation of a person's good name, and the good name of his parents and the repute of Christ's True Church that he founded, the Catholic Church. No one is perfect in or out of the Catholic Church. His first men, the Apostles, were not perfect. Judas, his first priest, betrayed him; Simon Peter, his first priest and successor, denied him, but repented and wept bitterly. This entire mess and it is a MESS was all inspired by the diabolic and demonic Freemasonry for the destruction of the Catholic Church. They placed their men in top rank like John 23 and Paul 6th who destroyed the Liturgical Worship and Sacraments of the Catholic Church. Attack all the priests, get rid of them and lastly attack the bishops, cardinals and get rid of them; before long, no Sacred Ministers left. All part of the plan for the NWO, the New World Order, one religion a utopian manufacture. Too much condemnation but no support, understanding, compassion, to help heal through this horrible mess. What easy solutions are there to human problems? I don't believe there are that many, if any. Investigate, go through records; what does that really do. Has anyone have any sense of respect,propriety, privacy, confidentiality. Even the Sacrament of Confession is being tortured, in Australia, almost close to that in Louisiana and God know where else. There is and may be no turning to the sacramentesque outlets because this destruction of the Sacred is so massive with hatred by the secular and pagan. What a disgrace!
fr colletti

Randal Agostini
5 months 3 weeks ago

An important feature about our Church hierarchy is missing. The administration of the church is both physical and spiritual in nature. These two features should be kept separate. The only changes to Canon law should be reflect the involvement of Laity administration in the physical aspects of the church.

lynne miller
5 months 3 weeks ago

In our parish, we held a Town Hall Meeting to decide what to do in response to this situation. Our decision was to write to the Bishop, requesting opening all the files and having total transparency, besides adding lay people to a Diocesan Review Board which will observe for future problems. Our Bishop beat us to the punch, stating in a letter that he was planning to open all files, and seems to be open to the review board. We're very fortunate here in Oakland, Ca, to have such a realistic and caring Bishop.

lynne miller
5 months 3 weeks ago

In our parish, we held a Town Hall Meeting to decide what to do in response to this situation. Our decision was to write to the Bishop, requesting opening all the files and having total transparency, besides adding lay people to a Diocesan Review Board which will observe for future problems. Our Bishop beat us to the punch, stating in a letter that he was planning to open all files, and seems to be open to the review board. We're very fortunate here in Oakland, Ca, to have such a realistic and caring Bishop.

Cynthia Mathews
5 months 3 weeks ago

Good for your bishop; however, I would have favored "demanded" instead of "requested" the opening of files. The wounding of children makes demanding imperative.

James M.
5 months 3 weeks ago

How about: Christianity ?

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