Letter to my bishop


#1

Over the current crisis in the whole church, we’re told to fast, pray, and write to our bishop Here’s my letter to my bishop.

The Roman Catholic Church is ablaze with sexual abuse scandals, from Saginaw to the Vatican. The Catholic media are telling us lay Catholics to pray, fast, and write our bishop.
Well, I’m sitting here trying to imagine what I could possibly say to you. What don’t bishops understand about the “catastrophe” that the Church is undergoing?

One bishop said the 2002 Dallas accord has been “working” with only a couple instances of reported abuse. I don’t think the Dallas accord went far enough, in that it did not include
accountability of the bishops, pointing out what their responsibilities are.

(continued in next post)


#2

I have read your “statements” and I find them lacking. You throw your emphasis on preventing the abuse of “children” but you conspicuously overlook the type of criminal activity that xxxxxxxxxxxx is accused of. The Church needs to commit itself to protecting ALL people from the abuse of power, including sexual abuse from predator priests.

The 2002 Dallas protocol called for an annual audit in each diocese, to see that the protocol was being implemented. OBVIOUSLY, the protocol needs revision. 1) There needs to be transparency in the publication of the annual audit. 2) Whatever the audit covers, there should be added an affidavit from each priest (including yourself) that you and each priest are personally are not engaged in ANY illegal activity or any abuse of power, especially the use of clerical power for purposes of sexual abuse or to cover up any abuse of power, including sexual abuse. 3) Each priest, including yourself, should submit a letter of resignation to be held in a file, to take effect upon conviction of any form of criminal activity and/or sexual exploitation. 4) Each priest including yourself should submit a declaration that he (you) are not engaged in any homosexual activity, while no longer considered criminal in the U.S., is nonetheless immoral and incompatible with the clerical state.

If the national USCCB protocol can be updated with these provisions, they should nonetheless be appended to the national protocol and adopted for use in the diocese of Saginaw.

Your recent statement referred to, but did not explicitly include or elaborate on P. Francis’s condemnation of clericalism, by both clergy and laity. Therefore, I propose, according to his call for elimination of clericalism, that you and each priest, individually, draft an action plan for eliminating clericalism in the diocese of Saginaw. This action plan should include specific action plan items and committal dates for the completion of those items. Lay persons in any capacity should also be required to commit to elimination and avoidance of any lay clericalism. They must submit in writing that they do not have any power over other persons. They should be indoctrinated in the philosophy that there are people with different personalities and that these lay ministers (in any capacity) are to respect all people, in accordance with their divinely infused dignity as persons. Further, all lay and clerical members of the diocese should be indoctrinated in the principle of privacy – that any information about a person they encounter must not be divulged casually, but only to the member of the clergy or a legitimate civil authority.

To implement the preceding, which I believe are reasonable and necessary at this time in the Church, a lay board of council should be established and meet from time to time to review the implementation of the Dallas protocol as amended here, including any future provisions from the USCCB which may be established. I propose that there should be at least two people from each county in the diocese, selected for a term of two years, by a public election in the parishes.


#3

Pray for me. I am trying to decide what I should write and also to which bishop I should be writing. I am a member at two parishes (one military, one civilian) and I am also “attached” to another parish in my hometown. We will be moving back there in a year. All three parishes fall under different bishops


#4

You can write to all of them. I think you should.


#5

Thank you. I think you are right. I think I will


#6

Your diocese already has a review board for child protection made up of 5 people—mostly lay people that are not employed by the diocese. (Most dioceses do.) If you are talking about setting up a distinct, separate review board, I would specify. If you think expanding the scope and membership of the current review board would fit with what you are suggesting, then I would frame it that way instead.

Just trying to anticipate what type of response you would get. I could see the diocese pointing out to you that they are already doing that.

Also, and maybe it’s just me, I would get rid of the scare quotes around “statements” and “children.” I don’t think that helps the letter.


#7

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