Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Pope to Address Sex-Abuse Crisis

According to Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone,  Benedict XVI "recognizes the damage and pain caused by the clergy sex abuse crisis" -- to which one can only wonder how anyone could be sufficiently callous and out of touch, even by Vatican standards, not to recognize those things.

Bertone says that, in his upcoming US junket, the Pope will "address" the problem by delivering "a message of trust and hope."

Sigh.  Trust and hope are what got them into the mess in the first place.  People trusted their priests, and hoped that the bishops would know how to handle those who went astray.  Wrongly so, in both instances.

The message required now is not hope, and certainly not trust -- it is a series of public smackdowns.  Here is what the Pope should do, and should have done long ago:  (1) Cooperate fully with law enforcement, and require that every diocesan bishop and the superior of every order do likewise; (2) Remove the faculties of every priest known to have abused those in his care; (3) Send bishops who have failed to exercise adequate discipline to titular sees, such as good old Partenia; and finally (4) Declare publicly and often a zero-tolerance policy for present or past infractions.

I hope the Pope does this, and soon.  Because then, and only then, will American Catholics begin to trust again.

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