‘Shredded’ Credibility

The U.S. Catholic bishops’ point man on sexual abuse said the hierarchy’s credibility on fixing the problem is “shredded” and that the situation is comparable to the Reformation, when “the episcopacy, the regular clergy, even the papacy were discredited.” On Aug. 13 Bishop R. Daniel Conlon of Joliet, Ill., spoke at the National Safe Environment and Victim Assistance Coordinators Leadership Conference in Omaha, Neb. He told attendees that he had assumed that consistently implementing the bishops’ policies on child protection, “coupled with some decent publicity, would turn public opinion around” but added, “I now know this was an illusion.” Conlon said U.S. bishops still needed to clarify emerging questions about how to deal with issues like child pornography and “boundary violations,” but he said bishops “are gravely weakened and in need of assistance” in developing policies and changing public perceptions. Conlon said, “Our credibility on the subject of child abuse is shredded, [but] you may have a better chance. People—in the church, outside the church and hanging on the edge—need to know that real progress is being made.”

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

In the wake of my reading The Dark Is Rising, one of my New Year’s resolutions is to try to keep pace with time, not lag behind it as I usually do.
Margot PattersonJanuary 18, 2018
‘This is calumny’: Pope Francis defends Bishop Barros against charges he knew of sexual abuse
Many in Chile opposed Francis’ appointment of Msgr. Barros as bishop because he is known to have belonged to the inner circle of a priest accused of abuse.
Gerard O’ConnellJanuary 18, 2018
(And what the Gospel says we should do instead)
Simcha FisherJanuary 18, 2018
Flight attendants Carlos Ciuffardi, left, and Paola Podest, talk with journalists during a flight from Santiago, Chile, to Iquique, Chile, after Pope Francis married them in-flight early Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
The couple said, “I do” Thursday morning after telling Francis that they had been married in a civil service in 2010.
Gerard O’ConnellJanuary 18, 2018