BLOGGING FROM ROME – MARCH 20 – 27TH
Posted Mar 20, 11:05 AM SiLive.comCHURCH HYPOCRITICAL –
By Anthony J. Raiola and Michelle Simpson Tuegel
For decades, the Catholic Church has turned a blind eye to the child predators in its ranks and refused to be held accountable for the thousands of lives it ruined.
Yet it took less than two days for the Brooklyn Diocese to respond to a joke on Saturday Night Live that compared the Catholic Church to R. Kelly.
There is no greater evidence that the Church refuses to take its child abuse problem seriously. It is clear the priorities lie in feigning outrage, not actually changing the culture of secrecy and abuse that has become the tenet of the modern Catholic Church.
Take, for example, the recent Vatican conference on sexual abuse of minors that was portrayed by many as a positive step forward by the Catholic Church. Unfortunately, the conference failed to establish any real solutions or tangible outcomes for survivors of clergy abuse. The Church has knowingly allowed abuse against minors to go on for decades, working hard to keep the abuse quiet and rotating sexual predators around different communities. Despite a contrite tone, Pope Francis proposed no concrete solutions to deal with the scourge of clergy abuse and failed to promise a zero-tolerance approach from the Church.
Survivors of clergy abuse in New York and beyond deserve more. It is time for Catholic bishops in New York state to make real reforms rather than empty promises, and do what the participants of the Vatican conference refused to do — focus on the survivors and enact concrete changes so that this abuse never happens again.
For example, New York bishops must convene a statewide summit and actually listen to the voices of survivors, not the clergy and institution that allowed this corruption to happen. By failing to prioritize the needs of survivors, the Church is once again choosing its leadership over the people it has failed to protect for decades.
The Church must also implement a zero-tolerance policy towards abusive clergy members and the priests and bishops who protect them, resulting in automatic dismissal from the clerical state. In addition, candidates for the priesthood should have to undergo more rigorous screening to help prevent such abuse from occurring in the first place.
Finally, the Vatican must reveal everything it knows about the destruction of files that could have prevented some abuse from occurring. The Church has proven that it cannot be trusted to do the right thing, so it must be forced to be entirely transparent and provide answers to questions survivors have struggled with for decades: What did the Church know about clergy abuse and when? And why didn’t it do more to stop it?
Part of ending the culture of covering up is holding abusive priests, the individuals who protected them, and the Church accountable in court. Despite resistance from the likes of Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Child Victims Act was recently signed into law, creating more opportunity for survivors to seek justice and get answers. The new law gives survivors of sexual abuse more time to seek criminal or civil charges against their abusers and creates a one-year window for survivors to file lawsuits that were previously barred by the statute of limitations. It helps ensure that from now on, survivors of sexual abuse in New York will not be silenced.
Is it not amazing that the US bishops have covered up abuse for 50 + years but react in 24 hours to their church being mocked and ridiculed?
They are so protective of their “reputation” but in reality their reputation is already zilch!
They have more concern for their so called “good name” than the wrecked lives and peace of mind of many thousands of innocent children.
These are rats that need the fire of exposure and publicity focused upon them.
The centuries of denial and corruption are coming home to roost.
There is a God in Heaven!