SEX ABUSE CRISIS
American Bishops Press Ahead With Own Reforms
Despite the Vatican shutting down American bishops' general plans to institute unilateral U.S. reforms until after the Vatican's conference this month, many bishops are going ahead on their own. Good on 'em! I know that Texas bishops have been publishing lists of priests credibly accused of sexual offenses.
The Dallas diocese's list went public last week and the bishop had a letter read in every parish. I heard him talk about it at Mass last Sunday as he was visiting as many parishes as possible to give his message in person (his target was 11 on Sunday). Read here for what other bishops around the country are doing.
‘Zero tolerance’ doesn’t seem an inflated expectation for pope’s summit
The pope and the Vatican have been working to reduce "inflated expectations" for the upcoming Vatican conference on the sexual abuse crisis. John Allen comments on this.
The pontiff ticked off how he sees the main points of the meeting:Yes. To say I've been frustrated by this attitude is to far understate my feelings. However, Allen goes on to talk about what zero tolerance means for the priest and at a global level, with global understandings. This helps, somewhat, to temper my feelings. I will be eagerly waiting to see what the actual results are. Do go read his whole piece.
To some extent, these efforts to frame expectations are completely reasonable, because it is artificial to expect three days in Rome to change the world. Further, since so much of the action in the anti-abuse effort is local, success will rise or fall not on what happens here, but in the various places to which these bishops must return.
- To foster awareness of the “terrible suffering” experienced by an abused child.
- To help bishops understand the procedures to follow in abuse cases.
- To make sure that awareness of the problem and procedures arrives to “all the episcopal conferences.”
That said, it’s also terribly frustrating to survivors of abuse, to reformers who’ve invested their best efforts over decades, and to rank-and-file Catholics whose faith has been shaken, to hear they’re asking too much. Americans especially would have cause to be irked, since they’ve been aware of the sexual abuse crisis since the mid-1980s, they were promised it would be resolved in 2002, and it’s understandably incomprehensible to many of them that it’s still causing heartache seventeen years later.
NEW YORK STATE'S NEW ABORTION LAW
Governor Andrew Cuomo Versus Cardinal Timothy Dolan
People have been asking why Dolan does not excommunicate Cuomo. Dolan's take, and one I think is valid, is that this is just what Cuomo wants to happen so he can wave it before those who agree with him. Defending the law in an editorial, Cuomo says:
I was educated in religious schools, and I am a former altar boy. My Roman Catholic values are my personal values. The decisions I choose to make in my life, or in counseling my daughters, are based on my personal moral and religious beliefs.A lot of his editorial made me raise my eyebrows, but at this they shot into my hairline. One's faith is, of course, personal but it is never private. As a Catholic, one acts in communion with the body of Christ and he is definitely not doing that in supporting abortion, especially as vigorously as he is doing. Otherwise, be honest. You are protesting the Church by picking and choosing what you will believe and ... essentially a Protestant.
Dolan responded vigorously, I was glad to see. In addressing Cuomo publicly, he is clarifying Catholic teachings and helping avoid scandal.
Yes, religion is personal; it’s hardly private, as the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life and struggle for civil rights so eloquently showed. Governor Cuomo’s professed faith teaches discrimination against immigrants is immoral, too. Does that mean he cannot let that moral principle guide his public policy? Clearly not.Get the links to both editorials here.
Debate abortion on what it is. Don’t hide behind labels like “right wing” and “Catholic.”