Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl, Washington's retired archbishop, apologized Jan. 15 for what he called a "lapse of memory," clarifying that he knew of at least one abuse allegation against former U.S. Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, but he had "forgotten" about it.
The Catholic church would benefit if bishops felt more like local leaders and less like regional managers in a Rome-based nonprofit. One way to move in that direction would be to have the clergy elect their bishops.
There is no question that the process for the appointment of bishops should be updated. But the election of bishops with procedures similar to democratic elections would only exacerbate all kinds of rifts in the Catholic Church today.
Catholics have every right to demand action, but there must be discernment and prayer before making decisions. Then comes the courage to enact necessary change.
German Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising spoke as the German bishops' conference prepares for a workshop debate to "review" the issue of celibacy for priests.