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PopeWatch: This Will Fix It

The bishops are coming up with yet another Rube Goldberg plan, according to Cardinal Dinardo, the President of the USCCB:

 

The Executive Committee has established three goals: (1) an investigation into the questions surrounding Archbishop McCarrick; (2) an opening of new and confidential channels for reporting complaints against bishops; and (3) advocacy for more effective resolution of future complaints. These goals will be pursued according to three criteria: proper independence, sufficient authority, and substantial leadership by laity.

We have already begun to develop a concrete plan for accomplishing these goals, relying upon consultation with experts, laity, and clergy, as well as the Vatican. We will present this plan to the full body of bishops in our November meeting. In addition, I will travel to Rome to present these goals and criteria to the Holy See, and to urge further concrete steps based on them.

The overarching goal in all of this is stronger protections against predators in the Church and anyone who would conceal them, protections that will hold bishops to the highest standards of transparency and accountability.

Allow me to briefly elaborate on the goals and criteria that we have identified.

The first goal is a full investigation of questions surrounding Archbishop McCarrick. These answers are necessary to prevent a recurrence, and so help to protect minors, seminarians, and others who are vulnerable in the future. We will therefore invite the Vatican to conduct an Apostolic Visitation to address these questions, in concert with a group of predominantly lay people identified for their expertise by members of the National Review Board and empowered to act.

The second goal is to make reporting of abuse and misconduct by bishops easier. Our 2002 “Statement of Episcopal Commitment” does not make clear what avenue victims themselves should follow in reporting abuse or other sexual misconduct by bishops. We need to update this document. We also need to develop and widely promote reliable third-party reporting mechanisms. Such tools already exist in many dioceses and in the public sector and we are already examining specific options.

The third goal is to advocate for better procedures to resolve complaints against bishops. For example, the canonical procedures that follow a complaint will be studied with an eye toward concrete proposals to make them more prompt, fair, and transparent and to specify what constraints may be imposed on bishops at each stage of that process.

We will pursue these goals according to three criteria.

The first criterion is genuine independence. Any mechanism for addressing any complaint against a bishop must be free from bias or undue influence by a bishop. Our structures must preclude bishops from deterring complaints against them, from hampering their investigation, or from skewing their resolution.

The second criterion relates to authority in the Church. Because only the Pope has authority to discipline or remove bishops, we will assure that our measures will both respect that authority and protect the vulnerable from the abuse of ecclesial power.

Our third criterion is substantial involvement of the laity. Lay people bring expertise in areas of investigation, law enforcement, psychology, and other relevant disciplines, and their presence reinforces our commitment to the first criterion of independence.

Finally, I apologize and humbly ask your forgiveness for what my brother bishops and I have done and failed to do. Whatever the details may turn out to be regarding Archbishop McCarrick or the many abuses in Pennsylvania (or anywhere else), we already know that one root cause is the failure of episcopal leadership. The result was that scores of beloved children of God were abandoned to face an abuse of power alone. This is a moral catastrophe. It is also part of this catastrophe that so many faithful priests who are pursuing holiness and serving with integrity are tainted by this failure.

Go here to read the rest.  Color PopeWatch very skeptical of this forthcoming dog and pony show, unless it ultimately has this provision:

 

All allegations alleging criminal conduct will immediately be turned over to local law enforcement. 

 

Isn’t it appalling that we have to look to Caesar to make certain our clergy will not engage in conduct that would horrify the most hardened sinners?

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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.

24 Comments

  1. It is appalling to me that none of this ever would have seen the light of day, and had a chance of ending, if it wasn’t for trial attorneys. Truly, God writes straight with crooked lines.

  2. Sin is its own punishment. Sodomy gives us sodomite, homicide gives us murderers and treason gives us traitors
    “words, words, words, say one more word and I’ll scream” (My Fair Lady) The Church ought to stop excommunicating reporters who report sexual abuse by bishops. The Church ought to stop blaming and bashing the victims for “wanting it”, especially if the victims are underage as Benedict Groeschel did on EWTN. Bella Dodd a former communist told that several hundred men were sent into the seminaries to destroy the church. The Church must acknowledge and root out these imposters living off the sacrifices of real men. Many have suffered ostracism for reporting on cardinal? mahoney.
    When anyone consents to commit a grievous sin which is a crime, he excommunicates himself. Therefore, there are no child molesters in the Catholic Church. The communists do not know that. “You will know them by what they do.”

  3. Sorry Cardinal Dodo, we’ve been fed this crap for far too long. #takeoutthetrash – and mop the damn floor.

  4. So uh….what happens if the Apostolic Visitor is a homosexual? And by “substantial involvement of the laity,” do you mean a variation of the VIRTUS program, where the laity are placed under suspicion for the sins of the perverts?

    #resignandbeprosecuted

  5. I’m not a big fan, but the VIRTUS program was actually fairly useful the time I went through it– they spent almost the entire time teaching predator recognition techniques and instilling a “yes, you DO have the authority to do something when stuff is fishy” ethos.

    The scary thing is that if you removed the interviews with child rapists, it was a match for anti-terror training.

  6. Archbishop Gregory of Atlanta has three priests for counseling the accused, one of which, who is a good priest, is almost 90 years old (God Bless him) and was pretty much deaf 10 years ago. I don’t know if he’s gotten a hearing aid since.

    For the accusers, he has three other priests. One, a monseigneur, is at the very least a homosexualist. He’s the pastor of the Immaculate Heart of Mary parish in Atlanta. On the web page there are at least three things supporting gblt and “pride.” So yes, he has as a counselor for people, who will be vastly overwhelmingly male and who may have been sexually assaulted by a priest, a homosexualist.

  7. Three goals: 1) questions surrounding McCarrick = limited sight considering the cast of suspiciously unchaste ‘defenders’ of faith and morals
    2) ‘new’ channels of reporting on Bishops = old ones were at very least defective
    3) more effective resolution of future complaints = protecting Seminaries and tradition minded Priests so that these will flourish?
    Three criteria: 1) reporting independent of interference by a Bishop = because there was?
    2) only papal authority in the Church and respect that authority while protecting the vulnerable from abuse of ecclesial power = instilling ‘confidence’ for seminarians and faithful priests?
    3) involvement of laity with expertise to enhance the first criterion = chosen by the USCCB?
    No mention of local law … only the Authority on watch.
    No mention of Our Lord’s teaching being protected for a sea change – esp. the powerful virtue of chastity.

  8. Foxfier, As I recall in the VIRTUS film (it’s been about 7 years) it focused on pedophiles and seemed to deny that molesters of older children were or could be homosexuals..
    Another female attendee, who counseled sex offenders at the local prison, disagreed with that aspect of VIRTUS and stated that many of the pedophiles she interviewed were latent homosexuals.

  9. If I remember correctly, they’ve got a new film as of…two? Three years ago? The lady ran into some technical issues because the link she had was to the old version, which has been taken down.

    There was a focus on small-child pedophiles, I would guess because of the “they can’t protect themselves” angle and because it strikes utter terror into a parent’s heart. Ditto heavy focus on adorable curly-haired little girls. Much heavier focus on specific things like controlling the area and taking note of those who routinely violate basic rules, and a good focus on predator-proofing kids.

  10. I went through VIRTUS training in the early 2000s, and I found it very informative. It seemed to me that many of the recommendations they make regarding safe environments (e.g., whenever an adult meets privately with a child, another adult should know exactly where they are and be close enough to intervene if necessary; no gift or special privilege should be given to a child without the parents’ permission) would not only serve to discourage predators but also to protect innocent adults from false accusations. IIRC it also emphasized that appropriate privacy (in the confessional or in the context of seeking counseling) is NOT the same as secrecy — the latter is what predators thrive on.

  11. Biggest thing is that it gave everyone “permission” to notice predatory behavior– Predators love to be able to blow up and play the victim with “how dare you!” type attacks. Terrorists, pedophiles, robbers– the uncertainty is a vulnerability.

  12. I hope they put “Uncle Ted” in prison so the parishioners do not have to support him.

    1. Laws against consensual sodomy are not enforced. In New York, there haven’t been any prosecutions at all in 40 years. (One of the last cases was a pair going at it in a parked car; you really had to beg to be arrested for it).
    2. In New York, it was a low-grade misdemeanor. Assume pretty much the same elsewhere.

    3. McCarrick is 87 years old. It’s a reasonable wager prosecution for sexual misconduct of the sort of which he’s been accused would be time-barred.

  13. Foxfier, As I recall in the VIRTUS film (it’s been about 7 years) it focused on pedophiles and seemed to deny that molesters of older children were or could be homosexuals..

    1. Without a doubt, the church-o-cracy is a peddler of the official idea in most dioceses.

    2. It was grossly amusing to contrast what Andrew Greeley had to say about homosexuality in the clergy ca. 1986 and what he had to say ca. 2003.

    3. Pederasty is an extension of homosexuality in the clergy. The main distinction is that pederasty is unlawful and tortious and adult homosexuality will not. I assume in many dioceses, it was the policy to not bother about adult homosexuality and just put the ones you suspected of handling adolescents on ice. A great many laymen in this gruesome age would be fine with that (and I’m not just talking about the ones who don’t show).

    4. Some screens tested for reliability might assist conscientious bishops to make correct decisions. Still, it’s hard to believe that assessment of accusations – in re paedophila, pederasty, or adult sexual misconduct – isn’t going to have a high error rate. The implication of the attitudes struck by characters like Rod Dreher and Lee Podles is that no one is ever traduced or that it doesn’t matter if you punish someone who has been (Podles wants accused priests confined to a penal colony on a small Caribbean island for life).

    5. The Holy See can promulgate amendments to canon law and issue some decisions from tribunals. However, it’s the responsibility of the bishops clean up their dioceses. One thing the Holy See can do is stay out of the way. We have reason to believe that Francis doesn’t give a rip about sexual misconduct unless accusations can be used as a tool to humiliate someone he dislikes for other reasons. There’s a limit to the effect of the papacy on the quality of local bishops. Still, Francis and his minions will see to it that our bishops get a little worse every year.

    6. With scant doubt, the church-o-cracy will understand the latest iteration of disciplinary adjustments as an exercise in striking a balance between various constituencies. Catholic laymen who adhere to the abiding teachings of the Church are not a constituency they care about; the imperative there is the same as it is for over-the-phone customer service personnel: get the protesting client to go away by using lulling behavior, &c.

  14. We do need the Law to protect us against anyone who breaks it. And that includes a Preists. Priests are not above the law. If this mentality that they are above the rest of their fellow citizens when it comes to correct conduct does not change, then this will continue. We shouldn’t be running a parallel justice system to suit our Catholic bubble.

  15. A Homosexual male preying on another man in the workplace is sexual harassment- it doesn’t matter if the man finally gives in after the relentless behaviour. This should be no different for a seminary Priest and his superior. The seminary Priest should be allowed to file an official report of harassment at the first sign of this predatory behaviour to the police. Maybe the law officials and general public will actually respect our Priests more if they weren’t so secretive and operating in their own world. Otherwise what makes our Faith any different than a cult if this is how we want to operate (in secrecy, and with our own rules)? There is nothing wrong with this transparency. Transparency shines the light on this manipulative, sneaky behaviour.

    I feel very bad for Cardinals and Bishops who are being accused of cover-ups (but didn’t abuse) such as Cardinal Pell, because they were operating in this secret environment with no proper protocol to guide them in what to do with stinky Priests. And these innocents like Pell (in my opinion) are only the scapegoats for the true vile men that have poisoned the veins of the Church governing body. It’s all still smoke and mirrors! What is it going to take for our Church leaders to wake up? I bet the abuse and predators are still alive and very active in their habits as we speak!

  16. I’m guessing many young adult heterosexual males might not come forward to lodge a complaint about about a homosexual making a pass whether in a seminary, barracks or a college dorm because of embarrassment.

  17. I assume in many dioceses, it was the policy to not bother about adult homosexuality and just put the ones you suspected of handling adolescents on ice. A great many laymen in this gruesome age would be fine with that (and I’m not just talking about the ones who don’t show.

    *grimace*
    Yeah, “if there’s grass on the field” type standards of predation on children are way, way too common…usually, as long as it’s not your kid.

    Usually.

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