Sex Abuse Summit: Too Little Too Late?

Change must come to the church, or credibility (already eroding) will be lost forever.

Every time I force myself to read more of the 1,356-page grand jury report detailing sex abuse in the priesthood in the state of Pennsylvania, I wonder anew: How did the church get away with this for so long?

The cover-up lasted for decades.  It was initially not in the church’s interest to let the world know just how deep and wide the sex abuse went, but now, due to a confluence of factors, they can’t deny it further.  As the Pope himself said at the recent conference of bishops called to discuss the scandal, what’s gone on “is utterly incompatible with [the church’s] moral authority and ethical credibility.”

There were high hopes that the recent summit would thrust a new set of initiatives, guidelines, and mea culpas before the public; that the church might get ahead of this crisis and salvage its credibility. The Pope opened the meeting acknowledging that “the People of God were expecting concrete, effective measures” to combat clerical abuse and not just the repetition of “simple and predictable condemnations.”

But in reality, the meeting produced nothing concrete, no future agenda, no timetable. The church’s decision to hold the conference dedicated to sex abuse, while remarkable because there was a meeting at all, produced much of the same — promises and a recognition of a need for rules on how to deal with misconduct, but no rules themselves.

Read the rest at Above The Law