Yes. We also have to realize that once we set the precedent that not even Catholic clergy are above suspicion or above consequences for these grave offenses, there will be far less room for anyone else to claim an “out.”
As a Church, we have to realize that the policies and attitudes of the institutional Church also set the model for the Domestic Church, where this kind of offense is far more prevalent and yet sometimes also covered up out of shame or a feeling that no “decent” family could ever have someone in it who could do such a thing.
Yes, I mean the pastors and bishops have to be a model for wives and mothers and aunts and other family members who have the duty and authority to protect children who have been the victims of sexual abuse. What the bishops do not have the courage to do, the wives and mothers (or husbands and fathers, if it is not the head of the household who is the offender) will have more difficulty finding the courage to do. When the bishops can love the sinner and yet show no tolerance for the sin nor any lack of protection for the victims of the sin, then the families confronted with this problem will be better-able to confront it and deal with it immediately upon becoming aware of it.
Likewise, if churches of every denomination do their jobs with regards to protecting children and young people from sexual and even emotional predators, other organizations that cater to children and young people, such as special-interest clubs and sports leagues, will have a model to follow.
That is what victims need. We need to keep protection of the vulnerable, especially the vulnerable yet developmentally innocent and naive, at the forefront. While the premise that everyone is innocent until found guilty is very important, it is secondary to an abundance of care for those who cannot defend themselves. These situations must be dealt with charitably and with justice, always, but nevertheless they must always be dealt with and never ignored.
Yes. We ought to look at staying as being here to do our part to defend the Church in Her hour of need. This is an assault on the Church. The right response is not to freeze nor to scatter. It is to join together in one mind and to act.