The ecclesial Cosa Nostra

I think we have seen in the last month that (a) the horror of priests sexually abusing children has not gone away despite The Dallas Charter being now sixteen years old and having just been revised two months ago (you can read it by clicking here), and (b) all the “shame and sorrow” expressed by Pope Francis doesn’t mean a damn thing unless bishops start dismissing priests, and bishops are held to account for not taking action to remove the criminals in their midst.

an empty Church devoid of credibility

In the case of the latter, it would seem that’s a non-starter.  Marie Collins, a former member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors who resigned in frustration over Vatican inaction on reforms and herself a victim-survivor of clerical sexual abuse, who met with the pope on August 25th during his recent visit to Ireland, said Pope Francis told her he is not planning to implement new procedures to hold bishops who cover-up clergy abuse accountable, saying they were unnecessary because of measures the Catholic Church already has in place to do so:

blind faith will not solve this problem

In answer to [my] question of setting up a tribunal and what sort of concrete measures there's going to be, it would appear that there's not going to be anything more.  The pope said there are already tribunals being held and bishops are being held accountable before them.

And we see how well that is working!

Reform, if it comes, will undoubtedly originate outside the priesthood and outside of the episcopate.  Laypeople — especially women — must rise up and take over this process in much the same way that there are civilian police commissions to “police the police.”

But reform won’t come unless there is a real desire for it, and despite all the platitudes offered by this or that bishop, we have only to look to recent history to see the current state of affairs.

fox henhouse

After Boston and the subsequent clergy abuse revelations of the early 2000's, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) appointed a lay-controlled National Review Board and appointed as its chair former Oklahoma governor Frank Keating, a retired FBI agent and criminal prosecutor.

He described the actions of the bishops and others in positions of authority within the Church as resisting subpoenas, refusing to reveal the names of priest-rapists, and denying the extent of the scandal, a concerted pattern of organized criminal behavior akin to the conduct of the Mafia — comments which drew a sharp rebuke from Cardinal Roger Mahony, then-archbishop of Los Angeles.

When Keating resigned, he said:

"My remarks, which some bishops found offensive, were deadly accurate. I make no apology."

Now I ask you, thoughtful reader, could we reasonably expect members of the Mob to police and root-out criminal wrongdoing in La Cosa Nostra?  What person who is right in the head thinks the bishops are the ones to police themselves, particularly given their track record?

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