Exclusive: Archbishop Scicluna says February meeting start of ‘global approach’ to fighting sex abuse

Archbishop Charles Scicluna, center, has been chosen as part of a steering committee to lead the meeting of bishops’ conferences from around the world in February. (CNS photo/courtesy Archdiocese of Santiago) Archbishop Charles Scicluna, center, has been chosen as part of a steering committee to lead the meeting of bishops’ conferences from around the world in February. (CNS photo/courtesy Archdiocese of Santiago) 

In a decision highlighting the great importance he gives to next February’s summit meeting on “the protection of minors in the church,” to which he has called the presidents of all the Catholic bishops conferences, Pope Francis has appointed a high-powered steering committee to oversee the project.

The committee is composed of two cardinals, Blase Cupich (Chicago) and Oswald Gracias (Bombay, India), and two of the church’s experts in the field: Archbishop Charles Scicluna (Malta), and Father Hans Zollner, a German Jesuit and president of the Center for Child Protection and Director and professor of psychology at the Gregorian University in Rome, who will serve as coordinator. The Vatican announced this today, November 23.

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In this exclusive interview with America, Archbishop Scicluna, whom the pope recently appointed as adjunct secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and who is also the president of its tribunal for appeals, speaks about the significance and goals of the February meeting, and how it will be conducted.

The Vatican announced today the archbishop will serve on a committee overseeing the Vatican meeting along with Cardinals Blase Cupich and Oswald Gracias and Jesuit Father Hans Zollner.

He described it as “a synodal meeting, the first ever of its kind to address the issue of the sexual abuse of minors in the church.“ It is “quite significant” because it brings together the presidents of over 100 bishops conferences from around the world, and the heads of all the Eastern-rite Catholic churches. Moreover, it is “a very important sign of what we call in technical terms ‘affective collegiality,’ which means the bringing together of bishops from around the world with the Holy Father to discuss important issues and to get them to be on the same page with the Holy Father.”

He said Pope Francis called this summit meeting because “he realizes that this issue,” namely the protection of children and the prevention and addressing of sexual abuse by clergy in the church, “has to be top on the church’s agenda.” The pope realizes that “this is a global issue, it is not a case of geographical or cultural criteria, rather it is a global issue which the church would want to approach with a united front, with respect for the different cultures but with a united resolve and with people being on the same page on it.”

While acknowledging that it is only four days long (Feb. 21-24) and “is certainly not going to solve everything,” Archbishop Scicluna emphasized that “it is a very important start of a global process which will take quite some time to perfect.” As a result of this process he hopes that “a number of initiatives on a continental level will start to happen that will re-create the atmosphere of resolve, determination but also purpose which I hope will mark the Rome meeting,” and will help “to address the issues in a different number of cultures, that have their own restraints, their own important positive aspects but also deficits that have to be discussed on a continental but also local level.”

Explore America’s in-depth coverage of sexual abuse and the Catholic Church.

Archbishop Scicluna described the February meeting as “the beginning of a new approach that I hope will be global, because it concerns the whole church, but it will also have a very important local context because safeguarding is not something up-there, it can’t be abstract, it has to be lived in every parish, in every school, in every diocese, and so it has to have an effect on the local level otherwise it’s not effective at all.”

He explained that the “main goals” of the meeting “are to make bishops realize and discuss together the fact that the sexual abuse of minors is not only an egregious phenomenon in itself and a crime, but it is also a very grave symptom of something deeper, which is actually a crisis in the way we approach ministry. Some call it clericalism, others call it a perversion of the ministry.”

He recalled that Pope Francis “has talked a lot about the way we go on with the stewardship of the community, not only as bishops but also as priests,” and said “the issue not only concerns the individual tragic cases of misconduct and the impact of that crime on the most vulnerable, the children, but also the way stewardship is exercised when we are faced with the issues; so the way we treat perpetrators, the way we treat victims, the way we treat the community.” All this will be discussed in February.

“Accountability is part of stewardship,” the archbishop stated. “Stewardship is not only accountability to God and to our conscience, but also to our community,” he explained; “stewardship means doing your job and doing it properly, especially when it is a question of care,” whereas “cover-up” is “the antithesis of stewardship.” “When you cover-up,” he said, “you are actually not solving a problem, you are deciding not to address it, you are deciding to hide important consequences and avoid the demands of justice, which is certainly not good stewardship.” He emphasized that “we have to move away from panic-driven policies that put the good name of the institution above all other considerations” and “in the end, those policies do reputational damage to the institution; they are actually also counterproductive, and it’s a no-go area.” He insisted that “we need to move forward from any temptation to cover up any crimes. It is only the truth will set us free.”

Archbishop Scicluna declared that “if we have a sickness in the body of the church, we need to face it, not to hide it, because otherwise it will grow and do more damage.” He recalled that Pope Francis “addressed the question of accountability in a law that he promulgated in 2016,” in the decree “As a Loving Mother,” which “creates a procedure whereby bishops who are negligent or not up to standard with their stewardship can be removed.” Indeed, he said, “there is an old tradition according to which, if the bishop is going to cause harm with his stewardship, then the See of Rome has the right and the duty to remove such a bishop.”

In this context, he emphasized that “we cannot avoid the important theological aspect that we bishops are stewards in a hierarchical communion together with the Holy Father, and so there is a jurisdiction of the Holy Father over each and every one of us bishops that we have to respect when we talk of accountability within the context of the Roman Catholic Church.”

He said the February meeting aims to get bishops and religious superiors “to realize the gravity of the situation,” to accept ownership of the issue, and then “to address questions of stewardship,” which means “not only how we care about our children, but also how we deal with cases [of abuse] and so questions of accountability and transparency are of the utmost importance,” and will be discussed at the meeting.

In this context, he said, “we bishops need to approach the issue of the sexual abuse of minors together as churches, and we also need to adopt what Pope Francis is calling ‘a synodal approach,’ that is we cannot do it alone in our community, we need also to empower the lay people, the laity, in order to help us be good stewards.”

He believes the meeting will communicate “the important message” that “the prevention of abuse and protection and safeguarding of our children and young people is not a question only of the bishop, it is a synodal issue; it is something that involves the whole church and everyone in the church around the world; it concerns one and all.”

Insisting on “this synodal aspect,” Archbishop Scicluna said, “it is not only bringing the bishops together but also approaching it on the local level as a community, in a synodal process. It takes a village to educate a child, and it takes a village to prevent abuse and to approach it properly wherever, unfortunately, it happens.”

He said Pope Francis wants the church to move forward on this question in a synodal manner, following the doctrine of the Second Vatican Council. He explained that “synodality means that we appreciate the different charisms and gifts of the laity, their expertise, and that we empower them to join bishops in the role of stewardship.” He added, “it’s not a question of having control over the hierarchy, it is the hierarchy empowering and facilitating the sharing of charisms which the Spirit also gives to the laity, because there are gifts there that will help issues of prevention and safeguarding that we need to bring on board, and we need to facilitate as bishops.”

He recalled that Pope Francis highlighted this synodal aspect in confronting abuse in his “Letter to the People of God” before his visit to Dublin last August; “he wants that to be on the agenda of every conference of bishops around the world” and at the Rome meeting he wants the bishops “to listen to victims, to talk to experts, and to listen to each other and to the concern that this issue brings before them.”

He expects the February meeting in process and structure to be somewhat like a synod in so far as “there are going to be plenary sessions; there are going to be language groups working, and then reporting back; there are going to be prayer groups; there are going to be listening to different stake-holders. It’s going to be a mixture of information, formation, discussion. The idea is that certain values are not only agreed upon, but also that certain priorities are put forward and adopted by the bishops.”

There will be “a penitential liturgy” during the meeting because “Pope Francis wants it,” Archbishop Scicluna said, “and victims are going to be a part of that liturgy too, just as they will be consulted in advance of the meeting, and be listened to during it.”

Some have spoken about the need for changes in Canon Law so as to deal properly with the abuse issue. Commenting on this, Archbishop Scicluna said, “Canon law always follows reality. To a certain extent it does form people in a certain context like the 1983 code of canon law did form a generation in the implementation of Vatican II.” Since canon law follows reality, he said, “it will have to change in response to new issues and new priorities in the church.” He envisaged, for example, the possibility of changes that would give “a stronger role for the metropolitan bishops” and “a bigger role for the victims in canonical penal processes.” He doesn’t think the February meeting “is going to enter into the details of such reforms of canon law” but he expects that “there will be an important input that will start a process that may actually get a reform of canon law.”

Archbishop Scicluna hopes “that the spirit of this meeting will be positive and proactive, and will also help to give a sign of hope to the bishops themselves, to the whole church, to the People of God, and, importantly to leadership at all levels in the church.”

The Vatican announced that in addition to the presidents of the bishops conferences and the heads of the Eastern-rite Catholic churches, there will be other participants too at the February meeting, including the prefects of the C.D.F. and the congregations for the evangelization of peoples, the oriental churches, bishops, the institutes of consecrated life and the societies of apostolic life, and of the dicastery for laity, the family and life. Representatives of the Union of Religious Superiors and of the International Union of Superiors Generals are also invited.

The Maltese archbishop underlined the importance of the presence of these major superiors because “they have hundreds of religious under their care, most of them priests but also even lay religious and they also are important stakeholders in education, in formation and in pastoral care. Superior Generals for women religious will also be present. It is very, very important to have the major superiors present and part of this process.”

In its statement today, the Vatican revealed that besides the four members of the steering committee, many other people are involved in the preparation for the meeting, including lay experts and two lay women who are under-secretaries from the dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life: Gabriella Gambino and Linda Ghisoni. The Commission for the Protection of Minors, headed by Cardinal Sean O’Malley, is also involved and, most importantly, so too are “some victims of abuse by clergy.”

Referring to the steering committee, Archbishop Scicluna said Pope Francis chose its four members to be “responsible for the organization” and “for advising him” and the Secretariat of States. Their task is to oversee the preparation for the meeting, and to ensure that everything is done properly. He emphasized that the choice of Father Zollner as coordinator of the committee is “an important reminder” that the meeting is “not only about stewardship, it’s also about reflective stewardship”; he brings “the expertise of psychology and best practices in prevention, which have to be part and parcel of the stewardship role of the church.”

He concluded by repeating that the meeting is only “the beginning of a process” and when it ends “we’ll have to leave the Holy Father and his close collaborators any decisions for further meetings on a continental basis, on a more decentralized basis. This is the beginning of a process, it is not the beginning and end of something.”

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Michael Barberi
2 weeks 6 days ago

> No details or specific objectives of this February meeting, other than abstract talking points.
> No mention of how bishops will be investigated and held accountable for past sexual abuses, coverup or gross negligence of an ecclesial office including the papacy (e.g., PA Grand Jury Report, McCarrick Scandal and Vignano letter)
> No mention of establishing a sexual abuse investigative agency or committee and their member make-up (e.g., a lay-lead committee) other than words like stewardship
> No mention of needed reforms other than to eliminate clericalism

We need concrete reforms that are clear even though it may take time to fully implement. Obviously, most Catholics want to see this February meeting result in a "very big first step now".

John Barbieri
1 week 3 days ago

I agree with you.
If there is not a "very big first step now," people will walk away in droves.
The "ontologically different" hierarchy will have demonstrated that they do not believe what they preach.
If such is the case, the institution does not deserve to continue to exist.
Yes, the stakes are that high!

Frank Pray
2 weeks 6 days ago

What results from this synodal 4 days will determine if I and many other marginal Catholics move out of the margin completely. What people will want to see is a mechanism for swift detection, investigation and response to an abuse charge. The clerics have completely lost credibility in policing themselves. I urge consideration of highly trained and fully authorized Catholic laity to marshall the evidence and recommend corrective action. No Pope, Cardinal, Bishop or Priest should be allowed to remain in office on a finding of either violating a minor or covering up the violation. The burden of proof should be no higher than preponderance of the evidence. All doubts should be resolved in favor of the minor’s credibility. That is the message and action the people need to hear and see from this gathering.

Danny Collins
2 weeks 5 days ago

Frank, Don't hold your breath. This seems more designed to cover up for abuse than and those who enabled it than to expose abusers like McCarrick and their enablers and protoges like Cardinal Farrell (McCarrick's room-mate for 6 years) and Cardinal "Nighty night, baby" Tobin, who knew about settlements against McCarrick and did nothing. Placing Cupich (who owe's his selection as Cardinal and archbishop of Chicago to McCarrick) on the committee makes a mockery of it.

The problem is that the enablers of abuse are now being exposed, and they are closing ranks and trying to shut down discussion by resorting to character assassination. That rarely works unless one can control the media, and that is getting harder to do (outside of places like America Magazine, whose board honored the abuser McCarrick at their centennial celebration, in spite of knowing of his abuse).

sheila gray
2 weeks 6 days ago

I think Zollner “gets it.” And Scicluna proved he gets it, too, with his approach to Chilean Survivors and Victims. Healing is the way forward, as I’ve shared before. By placing Survivors first and embracing our Healing needs above all else, we might, just might, straggle back into some of our more enlightened Parish communities. But there are no guarantees at all. In the meantime, a National 24/7 Clergy Abuse Crisis Line staffed by Survivors and mental health professionals could reduce suffering, and maybe suicides, during this time when Abuse stories are flooding the news almost daily.

rose-ellen caminer
2 weeks 5 days ago

A hotline for victims? That may [also] be great for those looking for victims!
Also beware of becoming too insular, and tribal; not tolerating or even hearing different viewpoints that deviate from an agreed upon psychological/ spiritual approach to healing and reconciliation, and to moving forward as one church.

sheila gray
2 weeks 4 days ago

You have got to be kidding me?!!! This is your response? What planet do you live on? What do you mean by, “That may also be great for those looking for victims”? Are you a Survivor, Mam? Of course not. And yet you know what Survivors should and should not do???!!! I am outraged at your response. It reeks of ignorance. It reeks of “clericalism”. It reeks of everything that’s wrong. If people involved in this so called “Church” don’t educate themselves about all aspects of this CRISIS, and GET REAL, I believe it’s all over but the shouting. With your superior attitude no one has a chance of solving anything. You amaze me! Please stop thinking that you know anything about what Survivors are going through or need. My blood pressure shot up twenty points when I read your comment. I will now attempt to laugh it off. As for praying for you? I’ll pass today. Good God!

rose-ellen caminer
2 weeks 4 days ago

I hope you do laugh it off. But I live on planet earth. And that's why I know that people WILL use a clerical sex abuse hotline for their own sexual purposes. It may be a very small minority, but the risk is a real one for such phone sex addicts do exist and may be drawn to the hotline like a magnet! One thing that survivor's DON'T need are pervs calling the hotline to get off hearing or relating tales of past sexual acts done by clergy! Such exploitation of a hotline for victims by pervs would rally get your blood pressure up. Do not be naïve, is all I am saying here Sheila.

Your characterization of my attitude as "superior" is totally off the mark. Deviating from some consensus belief of people who wear the mantle of "survivor," is not having a superior attitude. We all know what it's like to have been wronged by people in positions of power and or trust.No one is unscathed ; no one is exempt from having been treated unjustly. We all have experienced some such betrayal and some such imbalance of power. We all know sufferings, of injustices and betrayals, if not of sexual abuse then perhaps of sexual betrayal. "We all have the scars that the sun didn't heal". And so we all can have legitimate views to bring to bear on this issue even if we don't cloak ourselves in the mantle of "survivor'."

sheila gray
2 weeks 2 days ago

I apologize for coming back at you so uncharitably. Please forgive me. I feel a great pressure of time running out in my life to really understand everything, and maybe move beyond it all. I was abused 49 years ago when I was a young 17. I immediately informed my abuser’s two Superiors But was not believed, and no action was taken. For the last 49 years, off and on, my Survivor-Self has awakened and screamed bloody murder for awhile, then backed off and I would return to my previously-scheduled life. I was told by Cardiologists three years ago that I “might have a year to live” because of a very weak heart. They also told me to get my “affairs in order”. So my abuse reared it’s head again. I believe that Survivors need to come together somehow before the February meeting in the Vatican, perhaps in our virtual world, and create a comprehensive list of ideas or recommendations about what we think and feel and discover together through the process about what we need to Heal, and even walk back into a Church someday. Except for weddings and funerals, I, personally, have not been in a Church since 1970. Let me tell you about an amazing exchange I had three months ago in Long Beach, California one Sunday morning. I was walking along a sidewalk and a gentleman started to pass me on the right. We turned to each other and smiled as he walked by. Then we started to talk. He said that he was walking to the little Catholic Church a few blocks up. I told him that I am a Survivor, and that I wished I still had somewhere like church to go. He lovingly and genuinely invited me inside, but I just smiled and said, “Someday, Sir. Just not now.” We shook hands, introduced ourselves, then walked away. His name was Adam. I swear to God. His name was Adam. Peace

rose-ellen caminer
2 weeks 2 days ago

Wow Sheila what you just said to me was an act of real goodness and holiness. Of course I forgive you. And more then that, now I understand what is going on with you. It was not so much the abuse by the nun that is the ongoing trauma, but the fact that you as a child, a young adolescent, confided as a child should and would to an adult superior, only to not be believed by these adults. THAT is justifiable anger. If children who rely on adults for protection are betrayed by them when they confide a real wrong done by another adult, this compounds the initial trauma. It's outrageous . That is righteous anger, and every time you think of it, it makes you angry. It does me too; this adult not believing kids when they report a harm done to them by other adults. Such disregard for a child; helpless and dependent and trusting of adults is sheer adult callousness, or just sheer stupidity[one and the same?] and should make every one angry. Even when one remembers it years later. One of the most harmful events in a child's life is to be so dismissed by adults when reporting harm done to them. So no, your anger at these superiors is not petulance but righteous anger, I am sorry I called your anger petulance Sheila.
I am sorry that you have a medical doctor telling you to get your house in order. That to me is callous too. I think it is wrong and I wish you had a doctor who did not talk to you that way. That is real trauma that you are experiencing right now and I am sorry that you don't have a more empathic medical provider.
Your exchange with the man named Adam sounds like God reaching right down to you Sheila. I would advise going into a church, not when a mass is going on but just to sit there for a few minutes, maybe five minutes, every day, maybe early in the morning if you can.Just sit there,bring a New Testament with you and read one passage you open up to .Then just sit there ,then leave, just get acclimated sitting there in a Catholic Church. See how that unfolds for you. The Peace of Christ be with you Sheila.

Rhett Segall
2 weeks 6 days ago

The imperative of protecting the sheep from the shepherds is stunning beyond words. It's as if we were dealing with bear cubs who had to be protected from their sires lest they be eaten. As the Archbishop stressed "it (the sexual abuse and cover up) is a very grave symptom of something deeper, which is actually a crisis in the way we approach ministry. Some call it clericalism, others call it a perversion of the ministry.” Hopefully this mindset is the Holy Spirit at work.

Jim Spangler
2 weeks 6 days ago

Unfortunately, it all falls apart when Cupich is named. He has to many skeletons in his closet. They say this synod will discuss sex abuse of young children, but it does not say anything about addressing homosexuality and abuse on post pubescent males and seminarians. Active homosexuality needs to be addressed and action taken to expose and eliminate those who are actively involved in relationships. They are the major problem within the Church presently. McCarrick is an excellent example of how the hiarchy has been infested with homosexuality activity in the active priesthood and bishops and cardinals. The Church cannot no longer be a moral compass with this activity and can no longer be trusted. Until this degradation is exposed and expelled there can no longer be trust. Cupich, Tobin, Woerl, Malone, and many others need to be laicized. If the Church does not get the message and act on this, the federal justice department will come in and clean house, and hopefully prosecuted and dismantle this demon within the Church. Holy Spirit, come and cleanse the Church. Bring justice to the afflicted and hope to those scorned by the Church.

Jim Spangler
2 weeks 6 days ago

I must add, that McCarrick played a big role in the appointments of Cupich, Tobin, along with Woerl. Birds of a feather flock together. Until the McCarrick issue is exposed clearly as to how he was able to climb the ladder of success while doing his sexual deviancy, nothing can be cleaned up. McCarrick needs to be the first thing that is addressed. The silence stops now! Until truth is exposed, the problem will continue to exist and continue to multiply.

arthur mccaffrey
2 weeks 6 days ago

Hey Scicluna and Francis--ever hear of the expression "think globally act locally"? All victims are local. No amount of high powered global meetings in Rome will ever change that fact. This pre-conference rhetoric is not encouraging that we will ever get accountability and punishment LOCALLY soon. And all this talk about "it takes a village to prevent abuse" is so far removed from reality as to be insulting. What it does take is for every suspected case of child molestation to be handed over to local authorities immediately for investigation and punishment. When priests act like criminals and their bishops act like enablers and colluders in the crimes, you can talk about "charism" until you are blue in the face, but that won't change a single thing. if we do not implement LOCAL actions immediately without waiting for the inmates to congregate in the asylum next February, all we will be left with is more hot air. This is not an encouraging agenda. This is Francis playing with "Big Picture Thinking", like he is leading a class on crisis resolution at the Harvard Business Schoool. Once again his solution does not fit the problem. We need local little picture thinking that promises little but delivers much. The US Bishops Conference should never have caved when PF told them to back off. As Kieran Tapsell has written so often, the first, simple thing that Francis can do with a stroke of his pen, is to eliminate the canon law secrecy requirement 'Crimen Solicitationes' that forbids bishops to make public any claims of clergy abuse. Without that, all the rest of this rhetoric is just hot air. Not encouraging. Once again victims have to wait for justice while a bunch of celibate old men distort the definition of the problem.

Jim Spangler
2 weeks 6 days ago

Arthur, you last statement "celibate old men"? I'm not sure we can say that all of them are exactly celibate! If there is smoke there is fire. McCarrick has sent up a huge cloud of smoke! I'm sure there are many fires burning right up to the top!

rose-ellen caminer
2 weeks 4 days ago

What is the purpose of handing over cases of abuse allegations where the statute of limitations have kicked in, as the secular authorities cannot act? It has the appearance of seriously doing something, but the actions fall apart if the secular authorities cannot act! That allegations of sex crimes were never handed over to secular authorities is the heart of the problem. And BOTH the laity and the clerics were part of this not- handing -over- to -prosecutors -and- police, cases of abuse. This is being remedied. going forward which is really all that can be done; change the culture of the clerics and the laity [i.e., the Church] going forward.

Vincent Gaglione
2 weeks 5 days ago

After reading the article, I see glimmers of hope in a worldwide Catholic response to the abuse of children. Regretfully, this synod should have happened years ago, long before Francis, who somehow gets the brunt of everyone’s cynicism!

There’s nothing like a healthy dose of cynicism to bring clarity to issues. But some of the comments here are not just cynical. They express an anger and disrespect that adds nothing to the discussion but a venom to poison the public discussion and denigrate persons.

I cannot believe that the events and episodes that in the past 20 years have come to public attention are something new, recent, the product of current times. They are surely as old as the Church itself, indeed, as old as mankind. The good thing about it all is that it has been exposed, that it has become something about which we direct our attentions for restitution and accountability, to the victims, the perpetrators, and the Church at large. The Church may very well become the model by which many other institutions so affected will come to grips with child and adult abuse of all sorts.

Jim Spangler
2 weeks 5 days ago

and what world do you live in my friend???

Richard Markiewicz
2 weeks 5 days ago

Child abuse is an issue that infects every part of society. This sounds like a good plan and model to begin changing the mindset of the church hierarchy, especially by focusing on the synodal aspect. Getting more constituents involved will bring needed change if everyone is open to it. Hiding it internally is not the answer, as has been evident over time. The church should be the leader in preventing all types of abuse and if they stay focused on this process, it can become a model for all institutions. Prayers ascending for all involved.

Mark day
2 weeks 5 days ago

Change will only take place from the bottom. Not from the cowardly U.S. bishops, not from the higher reaches of the Vatican. Let the courts, the grand juries take their course, and drop only two cents into the collection box with your own statement. The clerics can't be trusted.

sheila gray
2 weeks 4 days ago

I totally agree. And the bottom, or the ground of healing, is Survivors. We need a Synod of Survivors. It just came to me about half an hour ago. We need to meet in Middle to late January, We need to find a place, somewhere warm. I live in the Long Beach, California Area. I intend to contact the Archdioceses of Orange County and Los Angeles County. Over 20 million people live here. We need to get together, Survivors only, as many as possible, and come up with a unanimous, enlightened, Love-based, Healing-based List of Recommendations, or Demands, or Whatever, and present it to The Vatican before their clergy abuse Synod in February. I intend to get this ball rolling. I am tired of, sick to death of, all the turmoil. I know we can turn the course of this Ship in a better direction. We can change The Church. But we must do it now. Our Time Is Now. If you want to help, pls contact me through America Magazine somehow. I’ll figure it out. OMG. This is a real, possible way forward. This could be the beginning of the end of the Crisis. Survivors have to Take The Wheel now. Only we know what we need. Only we can bring ourselves and our families and our good friends back to an Institution which has failed so many, for so long. I feel happy. I feel hopeful. Thank you, editors of America for these articles related to Abuse, and for the ability to comment, to reach out, to open each other’s hearts and minds to what we all should desire more than anything: Healing for Survivors and Our Families. I believe our numbers, which include our families, represent millions of people. MILLIONS. Let’s get busy. Thank you, God. Yes, I pray. I sincerely believe my real healing after 49 years of cover-ups galore, began the day I started praying again. It wasn’t pretty, but it was real. I know I have found many of the right questions about the Crisis. And I believe we will find some of the right answers in our Synod of Survivors. Pls help me in any way if you can.
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Mark day
2 weeks 5 days ago

Change will only take place from the bottom. Not from the cowardly U.S. bishops, not from the higher reaches of the Vatican. Let the courts, the grand juries take their course, and drop only two cents into the collection box with your own statement. The clerics can't be trusted.

Mark day
2 weeks 5 days ago

Change will only take place from the bottom. Not from the cowardly U.S. bishops, not from the higher reaches of the Vatican. Let the courts, the grand juries take their course, and drop only two cents into the collection box with your own statement. The clerics can't be trusted.

Mark day
2 weeks 5 days ago

Change will only take place from the bottom. Not from the cowardly U.S. bishops, not from the higher reaches of the Vatican. Let the courts, the grand juries take their course, and drop only two cents into the collection box with your own statement. The clerics can't be trusted.

Mark day
2 weeks 5 days ago

Change will only take place from the bottom. Not from the cowardly U.S. bishops, not from the higher reaches of the Vatican. Let the courts, the grand juries take their course, and drop only two cents into the collection box with your own statement. The clerics can't be trusted.

Mark day
2 weeks 5 days ago

Change will only take place from the bottom. Not from the cowardly U.S. bishops, not from the higher reaches of the Vatican. Let the courts, the grand juries take their course, and drop only two cents into the collection box with your own statement. The clerics can't be trusted.

Mark day
2 weeks 5 days ago

Change will only take place from the bottom. Not from the cowardly U.S. bishops, not from the higher reaches of the Vatican. Let the courts, the grand juries take their course, and drop only two cents into the collection box with your own statement. The clerics can't be trusted.

Mark day
2 weeks 5 days ago

Change will only take place from the bottom. Not from the cowardly U.S. bishops, not from the higher reaches of the Vatican. Let the courts, the grand juries take their course, and drop only two cents into the collection box with your own statement. The clerics can't be trusted.

Robert Peppey
2 weeks 5 days ago

Yes. That's what we are doing. Our weekly donation now goes to the local Catholic Worker soup kitchen. Archbishop Gomez can't get his greedy claws near CW's.

Mark day
2 weeks 5 days ago

Change will only take place from the bottom. Not from the cowardly U.S. bishops, not from the higher reaches of the Vatican. Let the courts, the grand juries take their course, and drop only two cents into the collection box with your own statement. The clerics can't be trusted.

Mark day
2 weeks 5 days ago

Change will only take place from the bottom. Not from the cowardly U.S. bishops, not from the higher reaches of the Vatican. Let the courts, the grand juries take their course, and drop only two cents into the collection box with your own statement. The clerics can't be trusted.

Mark day
2 weeks 5 days ago

Change will only take place from the bottom. Not from the cowardly U.S. bishops, not from the higher reaches of the Vatican. Let the courts, the grand juries take their course, and drop only two cents into the collection box with your own statement. The clerics can't be trusted.

Mark day
2 weeks 5 days ago

Change will only take place from the bottom. Not from the cowardly U.S. bishops, not from the higher reaches of the Vatican. Let the courts, the grand juries take their course, and drop only two cents into the collection box with your own statement. The clerics can't be trusted.

Mark day
2 weeks 5 days ago

Change will only take place from the bottom. Not from the cowardly U.S. bishops, not from the higher reaches of the Vatican. Let the courts, the grand juries take their course, and drop only two cents into the collection box with your own statement. The clerics can't be trusted.

Mark day
2 weeks 5 days ago

Change will only take place from the bottom. Not from the cowardly U.S. bishops, not from the higher reaches of the Vatican. Let the courts, the grand juries take their course, and drop only two cents into the collection box with your own statement. The clerics can't be trusted.

Mark day
2 weeks 5 days ago

Change will only take place from the bottom. Not from the cowardly U.S. bishops, not from the higher reaches of the Vatican. Let the courts, the grand juries take their course, and drop only two cents into the collection box with your own statement. The clerics can't be trusted.

sheila gray
2 weeks 4 days ago

I totally agree. And the bottom, or the ground of healing, is Survivors. We need a Synod of Survivors. It just came to me about half an hour ago. We need to meet in Middle to late January, We need to find a place, somewhere warm. I live in the Long Beach, California Area. I intend to contact the Archdioceses of Orange County and Los Angeles County. Over 20 million people live here. We need to get together, Survivors only, as many as possible, and come up with a unanimous, enlightened, Love-based, Healing-based List of Recommendations, or Demands, or Whatever, and present it to The Vatican before their clergy abuse Synod in February. I intend to get this ball rolling. I am tired of, sick to death of, all the turmoil. I know we can turn the course of this Ship in a better direction. We can change The Church. But we must do it now. Our Time Is Now. If you want to help, pls contact me though America Magazine somehow. I’ll figure it out. OMG. This is the way forward. This could be the beginning of the end of the Crisis. Survivors have to Take The Wheel now. Only we know what we need. Only we can bring ourselves and our families and our good friends back to an Institution which has failed so many, for so long. I feel happy. I feel hopeful. Thank you, editors of America for these articles related to Abuse, and for the ability to comment, to reach out, to open each other’s hearts and minds to what we all should desire more than anything: Healing for Survivors and Our Families. I believe our numbers, which include our families, represent millions of people. MILLIONS. Let’s get busy. Thank you, God. Yes, I pray. I sincerely believe my real healing after 49 years of cover-ups galore, began the day I began to pray again. It wasn’t pretty, but it was real. I know I have found many of the right questions about the Crisis. And I believe we will find some of the answers in our Synod of Survivors. Pls help me if you can.

Robert Peppey
2 weeks 5 days ago

Scicluna must get the 198 US bishops resignation letters ASAP.

Robert Peppey
2 weeks 5 days ago

US bishops, voluntarily turn over your diocesan secret sex files to the following: local DA's, state AG's, and your US Attorney's. As all of you most likely on your rise to the top have taken part in some degree in the cover-up's, moving rapists priest from one parish to another and so on; at Mundelein Seminary this January, in an act of true humility, no lying face down please, turn your letters of resignation to the Bishop of Rome's representative. Be redeemed. Be raised up.

Mark M
2 weeks 3 days ago

Hmmm, the seminarian craving McCarrick is still, today, an archbishop in the Catholic Church. He lives a comfortable life on the pewsitters dime.
The Jesuit bishop of Rome has no problem with this. McCarrick has not been charged with anything. McCarrick admits to nothing. It is unlikely he will have to answer for anything in this life.
Thanks, Pope Francis and USCCB, your cowardice is stunning.

Jeffrey More
2 weeks 3 days ago

"Archbishop Scicluna hopes 'that the spirit of this meeting will be positive and proactive, and will also help to give a sign of hope to the bishops themselves, to the whole church, to the People of God, and, importantly to leadership at all levels in the church.'"

A careful reading of Scicluna's comments in this interview discloses, I'm afraid, that our expectations for the February meeting should be very low. In fact, one gets the impression that this meeting is not being called to actually deal with a problem that threatens as great a rupture in the Church as was caused by the Reformation, but rather is being called as a kind of pep talk for the hierarchy and as a smokescreen designed to make it appear that action is being taken when in reality the Vatican is doing all it can to put the brakes on. As one small example, consider the sentence quoted immediately above. Scicluna "hopes" that the spirit of the meeting will be positive, a mealy-mouthed sentiment if ever there was one. But more oddly, he "hopes" that the "spirit of the meeting" (whatever the hell that means) will "give a sign of hope" (whatever the hell THAT means) to four classes of people: (a) THE BISHOPS THEMSELVES [!], (b) the "whole Church" (which could mean us, but probably means instead the institutional body, I.e. The clergy), (c) the People of God (ah, US!), and (d) "leadership at all levels in the Church". Think about this for a second - Scicluna hopes that the meeting will create a sense of hope among the whited sepulchres who run the Church! Whether he intended to or not, Scicluna has given the impression that the meeting is INTENDED to be a clusterf**ck . Indeed, what we are about to see in February could well be one of the most consequential exercises in clericalism in the recent history of the Church.

Mister Mckee
2 weeks 3 days ago

Archbishop Scicluna declared that “IF we have a sickness in the body of the church, we need to face it, not to hide it, because otherwise it will grow and do more damage.”
"IF?" Really? "IF????"
The Archbishop remains as clueless as too many of the USCCB gathered in Baltimore earlier this month:
https://www.commonwealmagazine.org/baltimore-flop

Mister Mckee
2 weeks 3 days ago

"The Vatican announced that in addition to the presidents of the bishops conferences and the heads of the Eastern-rite Catholic churches, there will be other participants too at the February meeting, including the prefects of the C.D.F. and the congregations for the evangelization of peoples, the oriental churches, bishops, the institutes of consecrated life and the societies of apostolic life, and of the dicastery for laity, the family and life. Representatives of the Union of Religious Superiors and of the International Union of Superiors Generals are also invited."

ALL COMPANY MEN, towing the company line that has helped them climb the company ladder.
(Just look at the hierarchically-arranged elaboration of the invitees in the quote above!) They have already demonstrated that they are incapable -individually or collectively- of coming up with any solutions to this global problem that has occurred on ALL of their watches, and for anyone to actually expect something concrete from this gathering is an exercise in foolhardiness of the highest degree.

Sarah Kleman
2 weeks 3 days ago

I'm glad Pope Francis confirmed that sexual abuse of children by the Catholic Church is a global problem. I'm not encouraged by Scicluna's statement that a global process "will take quite some time to perfect." Why does it take quite some time to tell priests and bishops that using children for sex is criminal, heinous and intolerable and will be met with trials and excommunications? Does anyone think anything is really going to happen during 4 days of blabbering in Rome in February?

In all honesty, I think what's really going on is that in February Pope Francis is going to resign with a conference already in place to form a conclave to elect a new Pope. And then they'll tell us that it will take several years for the new Pope to get up to speed. I hope that all of the U.S. investigations go forward without waiting to see what happens during 4 days in February in Rome.

JOHN GRONDELSKI
2 weeks 2 days ago

The next "synodality" expression: except when laity demanded the USCCB take action against homosexual priest predators, the Vatican shut them down. "Synodality" means "whatever coincides with the predetermined agenda." Not a penny to the Pence or anything else until this sodomistic boil is lanced.

JOHN GRONDELSKI
2 weeks 2 days ago

The next "synodality" expression: except when laity demanded the USCCB take action against homosexual priest predators, the Vatican shut them down. "Synodality" means "whatever coincides with the predetermined agenda." Not a penny to the Pence or anything else until this sodomistic boil is lanced. It does not take "careful preparation" to figure out bishops should not be sleeping with children or seminarians. It does not take "consultation" to see this as perversion. And it does not take perspicacity to see Rome REALLY does not want to explain how Teddy McCarrick got to where he did and who -- including in the current papacy, which ignores Archbishop Vigano's letters -- knew what when.

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