Rotterdam Bishop Ad van Luyn has called for an independent investigation into the sexual exploitation of children by priests, after 200 alleged victims contacted help services. His call follows the publication of the Dublin Inquiry into the Irish Church scandals, and the revelation of allegations of misconduct in Germany and even within the ranks of the Vatican itself.
Catholics in North America are all too familiar with these scandals. Repeated media reports that clerics have violated their religious obligation to celibacy and chastity have sorely tested the belief of many. Even the Bishops have not withstood the scrutiny of inquiry for they have been found culpable in the victimization of the Church’s most precious gifts - the trust of its members and the welfare of its members; actions which have brought untold suffering and confusion into the hearts and minds of many.
The United States Bishops have taken one crucial step that, to date, has not been implemented by their northern brothers in Canada: an independent audit or investigation of their handling of these scandals. Their Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People is a comprehensive set of procedures established by the USCCB in June 2002 in Dallas, Tx. for addressing allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy. The Charter also includes guidelines for reconciliation, healing, accountability, and prevention of future acts of abuse.
The Charter directs action in all the following matters:
-creating a safe environment for children and young people
-healing and reconciliation of victims and survivors
-making prompt and effective response to allegations
-cooperating with civil authorities
-providing for means of accountability for the future to ensure the problem continues to be effectively dealt with through a national Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection and a National Review Board.
It is this last point, the creation of a National Review Board, staffed and led by independent professionals and investigators, that has become the mechanism by which American Catholics can access the truth of these scandals and seek the assurance that such matters are now dealt with in a manner that respects the principles of justice and compassion.
Canada needs such an instrument to provide the same for its Catholic faithful.
There are many recent examples where truth commissions or investigations have dealt with larger and more contentious issues in other societies. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission headed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu helped South Africa to begin to move past the horrors of its apartheid era.3 Rwanda has walked a similar path in the wake of its ethnic genocide begin the process of societal healing4. If the probing light of truth can help to sterilize those societies of the evil they endured, then surely it is possible for the same to happen for the Church and its alienated members... and society at large.
Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI have identified these scandals as the manifestation of evil within the entire faith community. Benedict has gone even further in openly criticizing the Irish Bishops for their mishandling of these scandals. Clearly it is of the papal mind that such acts need to be cauterized with the application of transparent justice in which the Church, in all humility, must face the consequences of its misdeeds and do more than simply publicly apologizing and promising to do better.
Too often in the wake of these revelations, the church has responded with a strategy that is guided by the counsel of its legal advisors in a vain attempt to protect the goods of the Church. This has resulted in the squandering of its true capital, the faith of its members and the morale of its priests. Perhaps it is time for all Bishops to be reminded that what is ‘legal’ is not always the 'moral' or 'proper' course to follow, especially for a body which claims moral authority in today’s societal debates.
It is easy, from the perspective of these ecclesial fathers, to face such an examination with a measure of trepidation and fear. Nevertheless it is past time for them to overcome their hesitation and accept that they have been rendered impotent in the eyes of most, in claiming the moral authority to deal with these matters internally. Only the sanitizing effect of an outside investigation can now bring the healing that Canadian Catholics need and desire. In short, the benefits will now far outweigh the costs to both the institution of the Church and to the faith of Canadians of all persuasions and faith.
It is time for the Church in Canada to ask for, and cooperate with, an independent investigation into its actions by an appropriate outside body. The faithful, both lay and clergy require no less if they are to overcome the injuries sustained over the past 20+ years of scandal and shame. It is time to do what is necessary to reclaim its moral authority.
Today’s Catholics are demanding nothing less.
- American Papist Blog
- American Spectator
- Archbishop Tim Dolan's (NY) Blog
- Big Blue Wave
- Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC News Site)
- Catholic Dialogue Blog
- Catholic Education Resource Center
- Catholic Exchange
- Catholic Heritage Website (Ireland)
- Catholic Insight
- Catholic News Agency
- Catholic Online
- Catholic Sensibility
- Catholic, and Loving It
- CTV News Site
- Ethics and Public Policy Center
- First Things
- Fr. Raymond De Souza - National Post Columnist
- Fr. Raymond deSouza personal blog
- Freethroughthought blog (excellent site)
- Friar Rick's Webblog
- Get Religion.org
- Global TV News Site
- Holy Post - National Post Religious Blog
- Inside Catholic Blog
- New Advent
- Pave the Way Foundation
- Priests for Life Canada Website
- ProLife Blog
- Roman Catholic Diocese of Pembroke
- Rosary for the Bishops
- Salt & Light TV - Canadian Catholic Television Website
- Sandro Magister
- Sane Conservatism
- SoCon (social conservative)
- Sylvia's Website: Canadian Clergy Sex Abuse Cases
- The Catholic Register
- The Hermeneutic of Continuity
- The National Post: Canada's National Daily
- The New Jesuit Review
- The New York Times Website
- Vox Nova
- What Does Prayer Really Say - Priest bolg
- Whispers in the Loggia
- ► 2014 (1379)
- ► 2013 (1381)
- ► 2012 (1527)
- ► 2011 (1437)
- Catholics' ties to church tested by crisis
- Maureen Dowd (NYT) hurls more insult and abuse at...
- Check, recheck and triple check » GetReligion
- Catholic Culture : Latest Headlines : Pope has Can...
- Here's a new website that is devoting itself to pr...
- The Catholic Register - D&P, LifeSite rev up their...
- One of those 'inspirational messages' that float a...
- It's time to call in help to clean up the mess!
- George Weigel & Jay Scott Newman add more evidence...
- Frank Bruni puts scandals in perpective - We have ...
- Scoundrel Times: George Weigel addresses the dama...
- This is a 'major' demonstration?
- The Catholic Revolution... Thanks Cristina!
- IRREFUTABLE PROOF!! With great appreciation to Fr....
- Fr. Dwight Longenecker offers wisdom in dealing wi...
- New York Times tries to turn up the heat on the Ch...
- What's with the sleeping dog you ask?
- Need more proof that War has indeed begun in earne...
- Spaghetti Carbonara... a favorite of mine!
- The Pope and the Wisconsin sex abuse scandal: I sm...
- A Response to Christopher Hitchens' The Great Cath...
- Temporal Weapons that we should use in promotion o...
- Further evidence that the War is on in earnest!
- A CALL TO ARMS: War must be engaged with energy an...
- Over on the NP Holy Post blog, "robertbj" understo...
- Support the Pontiff with more than prayer
- TRUTH : Papal writings to the Irish Church - To p...
- TRUTH : Papal writings to the Irish Church - To...
- More evidence of media bias against the Pope - Tim...
- Pope Benedict's Letter to the Irish Church - put i...
- A reposting of what it means to be an "evangelical...
- Model for Canada to follow in addressing sex abuse...
- Happy St. Patrick's Day!!!
- A German Catholic asks: “If you get divorced and r...
- The Human Experience: Narrated in part by Fr. Ric...
- Not entirely theologically sound... but wise none ...
- New addition to the Cafeteria vending machine offe...
- A little 'artistic' fun
- Prayer Request
- Sympathectomy of the Soul: From Joe Carter (First ...
- Live Abortion on Social Media - Catholic Online
- In anticipation of St. Patrick's Day....
- For all those who claim that JPII and B16 have kil...
- Canada's hockey Olympic glory... told to the tune ...
- Sex Abuse Scandal touches Vatican itself
- Dutch bishop calls for sex abuse investigation | F...
- A moment of your time please for a personal reques...
- Martin poses a great question to be answered by a ...
- A little penguin humor to "break the ice"
- A FISH STORY worth telling... thanks to Martin!
- RJN addresses the issue of the role of religion in...
- New Edition of the New Jesuit Review
- Two great friends of mine, and of all the Catholic...
- A Failure of Leadership
- A MUST SEE for any Star Trek fan out there whose i...
- In response to todays Gallup Poll, I offer this re...
- 'Bubba' the new Walmart 'greeter' offers a wry bit...
- The horrendous cost of the sex abuse scandals: Vi...
- ▼ March (59)