Sunday, January 19, 2014

Bishop Accountability Responds to Vatican Claims at U.N. Hearing: "Silence Has Been the Pope’s Pattern"

Bishop Accountability has submitted a letter and report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child to assist the committee in its review of the response of the Holy See to child abuse in the Catholic church. Here's how the report frames the response of Pope Francis to the abuse situation up to this point in his papacy:

Francis has said little about clergy sexual abuse in his ten months as pope. Given his openness about other controversial topics and his passionate devotion to the marginalized and powerless, it is notable that he chooses to stay silent about the plight of children sexually abused by Catholic priests. His recently announced child protection commission, with a sprawling mandate that promises only study and discussion, actually seems a step backward from the Holy See’s modest but discernible progress at the end of Benedict’s pontificate: its May 2011 "Circular Letter" urging bishops' conferences worldwide to establish guidelines for removing abusers, and its February 2012 conference on sex abuse that acknowledged 100,000 victims in the US alone. 
Silence has been the pope’s pattern. Jorge Mario Bergoglio, s.j., was Archbishop of Buenos Aires from 1998 to 2013, a period of worldwide revelations about child sexual abuse in the Church. As his brother bishops in the US and Europe began addressing the problem and promising reform – and even as Popes John Paul II and Benedict made public statements –  Bergoglio disclosed nothing and said nothing. He released no documents, no names of accused priests, no tallies of accused priests, not even an apology to victims. In his many homilies and statements (archived on the Buenos Aires archdiocesan website), he attacked government corruption, wealth inequities, and human sex trafficking, but he said nothing about sexual violence by priests.

Or, as Mark Silk puts the same point at his Spiritual Politics site, "If Francis gets it, he’s yet to show it."

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