Tuesday, March 16, 2010


As I read and listen to the stories of the growing European clergy sexual abuse scandals, I have this image of a stone hitting a pond, causing ripples through the water. The scandal broke open in Boston, and the ripples caused by it surged through the rest of the country. Now it seems to have rippled through Ireland and Europe, and touching even the Papacy.

From where I sit, as horrific as the crimes committed against children by trusted priests are; what has really gotten people so upset and angry is the fact that our bishops failed to protect our children. It seems that the bishop’s primary goal was to protect the image of the Church; to keep a lid on the scandal, but they were trying to keep a lid on a pressure cooker. Eventually, the pressure proved too great, and the scandal exploded, bankrupting dioceses, demoralizing the good and honorable priests, and incurring distrust among the laity.

At a time when the modern secular world is challenging the Christian faith and values, these ongoing scandals only aid those who oppose the Church, and drives away those who are searching for a loving God. And then there are those who have been severely wounded, physically, mentally, and spiritually; the Church needs to acknowledge them and care for them.

The time has come for the pope and bishops to seriously address this situation as a world wide crisis. They must be accountable for their role in it, and where necessary, lose their office. We are getting beyond the point, where words, no matter how heartfelt they may be, are enough. What is required is action to hold those responsible for this tragedy to task; and changes in the Church must be explored and implemented.

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