Monday Ministerial Musings
By Rev. Mark William Ennis
Blog Number 15
May 13, 2019
Pope Francis and Clergy Sexual Abuse
For decades now, many of us have been saddened by the clergy sexual crisis that has haunted the Roman Catholic Church. Many of us have been waiting and hoping that Pope Francis would be decisive in obtaining justice for victims and preventing future victims. This past week, the Pope has issued orders to establish a new protocol for priests to deal with new reports of abuse. I wonder if he has gone far enough.
This new protocol mandates that any suspicion of abuse be reported to a superior within the church, and that an investigation be started. If I recall correctly, it has frequently been the bishops who have been covering up reports of this abuse. Why did the pope not require that civil authorities be involved in allegations and have arrests made, if appropriate? What the Pope’s orders have done is to keep such investigations “in-house.” It is keeping such cases “in-house” that has led to the scandal continuing for so long.
I am disappointed that the Pope has not gone farther than he has. Why not require the reporting of suspected abuse to the police? Why not have suspected abusers arrested? Why not allow priests who are convicted to be jailed? In-house investigations have, so far, proved ineffective in preventing clergy sexual abuse. It is time to do more. I call on Pope Francis to do much more. The reputation of the Roman church continues to decay. We need the Pope to do something radical so that there will be no more victims and confidence in the church can be restored.
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