Opinion: There are several bishops who have been involved in sex abuse cases who should not be allowed at this week's annual meeting.
Examining the Crisis
Two years ago I wrote an article for NCR titled "Surely Rome Can Do Better." It described the complexity of resigning from the priesthood — especially if you wish to get married — and was published in the "Examining the Crisis" section of the website. Forty-five people wrote comments to the article, but it was a phone call I received from an attorney that really caught my attention.
We know the 900 Sister leaders representing 320 religious communities at the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) have a full plate for their meetings that begins today in St. Louis.
We don't think anything on the plate should keep the Sisters from opening the door to the survivors that will be outside the hotel where they are meeting.
I found out something significant about the Code of Canon Law of the Roman Catholic Church as I sat inside Judge M. Teresa Sarmina's criminal courtroom in Philadelphia April 30 and listened to Msgr. Kevin Michael Quirk, a church canon lawyer from the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, W. Va.
In a none too subtle posting on his Archdiocese of New York blog, Cardinal Timothy Dolan -- the newly minted and over the top feted eminence -- confirmed the bishops’ new strategy: playing hardball against victims and the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) in particular. Any reader of a diocesan newspaper knows that bishops are experts at the coy, the obfuscating, the lovely sounding but non-relevant tinkling brass and clanging symbol approach to communication. When they do otherwise it pays to take heed.
SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, came into existence in 1989, just five years after national attention was first focused on sexual molestation of minors by Catholic clergy. SNAP came into existence because the institutional church, i.e., the bishops, could not and would not do anything to help the victims of the priests they were supposed to supervise.
Both Pennsylvania and New York will have an uphill battle to get any legislation dealing with the sexual abuse of children discussed, let alone signed into law, regardless of what has been happening lately at Penn State, Syracuse or any other educational, religious, public or private institution.
The British High Court ruled Tuesday that the Roman Catholic Church can be held responsible for the wrongdoings of its priests, according to BBC News.
"The Church had claimed it could not be held vicariously responsible because there was no formal employment relationship with its priests," the site reported.
It has been almost 10 years since the bishops of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States mandated accountability and transparency in regard to the sexual abuse of children, but how that accountability and transparency was defined was ultimately left up to individual bishops, as was their application.
Enda Kenny, the Taoiseach, or prime minister, of Ireland, addressed the Irish Parliament about a judicial report released last week on how the Cloyne diocese responded to the clergy sex abuse crisis. That report found that the church's own guidelines were "not fully or consistently implemented" in the diocese as recently as 2008. It also accused the Vatican of being "entirely unhelpful" in the crisis, charging in fact that the Vatican "effectively gave individual Irish bishops the freedom to ignore [those] procedures."
Kenny told the Parliament "the Cloyne Report excavates the dysfunction, disconnection, elitism … the narcissism that dominate the culture of the Vatican to this day."