Archive for January, 2012
The Roman Catholic Church will try to develop a global solution to clergy sexual abuse
Roman Catholic Church leaders will gather in Rome, Feb. 6-9, “to launch a global initiative aimed at improving efforts to stop clerical sexual abuse and better protect children and young adults, according to a story yesterday by the Catholic News Service. Voice of the Faithful sounded a cautionary note for bishops and other church leaders in its Jan. 24 statement on the upcoming symposium.
The Vatican named Italian Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano as apostolic nuncio (ambassador) to the United States last October, and late last week some began questioning the Vatican’s motives for the appointment. Although papal ambassador is an important post, and apostolic nuncio to the United States a prestigious assignment, some wondered whether Vigano had been transferred to the U.S. because he had uncovered corruption in Vatican finances. Also, Vigano seems seriously to have wanted to remain in Rome to finish the job. Here are three stories about the issue:
- Thoughts on America’s New Whistle-blowing Nuncio, National Catholic Reporter
- Transfer of Vatican Official Who Exposed Corruption Hints at Power Struggle, New York Times
- Vatican Official Warns Pope of Corruption, Association Press in the Boston Globe
Worldwide Catholic Church reform movement Voice of the Faithful has long maintained that finances at all levels of the Church’s structure bear careful watching.
Representatives of the Austrian Catholic Church gathered with Vatican officials earlier this week to discuss a group of about 400 priests who have declared themselves “disobedient.” — http://bit.ly/www0cx
The Roman Catholic Church has yet to develop an effective worldwide response to clergy child sexual abuse, even though widespread abuse was evident by the mid-1990s, exploded into crisis in the United States in 2002 and in the past few years has proven to be epidemic around the world. Church leaders worldwide will attend a symposium in Rome Feb. 6 to discuss such a response.
Voice of the Faithful cautions Church leaders that the time has come, and indeed is long past, not only for creating appropriate responses to abuse allegations in every diocese worldwide, but also for ending the secrecy and coverups that so exacerbate the crimes. Transparency and accountability are essential.
Towards Healing and Renewal: A Symposium for Catholic Bishops and Religious Superiors on Sexual Abuse of Minors is expected to draw delegates from 110 bishops’ conferences and superiors of 30 religious orders internationally.
Their goal in part will be to share “practical wisdom” of “experts in the fields of psychology, canon law, theology, and pastoral ministry” in order to promote a consistent, global response by the Church to reports of sexual abuse and to structure child protection policies. In this, the symposium points toward the May 2012 deadline for dioceses worldwide to develop guidelines for handling child abuse allegations.
The Vatican is right to bring worldwide attention and focus on this growing and continuing scandal that ruins lives and wounds the Church so deeply. The Vatican is right to seek a worldwide response to the enormous task of handling sexual abuse allegations amidst Church communities with such cultural, theological, sociological and governmental diversity. But the Vatican’s failure before now to look for global solutions and hold bishops accountable and the bishops’ actions in keeping abuse allegations secret leave VOTF without confidence that adequate guidelines will be forthcoming.
VOTF and other organizations and individuals that put children above institutional image will be watching closely for what comes from the symposium and May deadline.