Here is the letter from the Vatican website
Talk, talk, talk. What is actually going to change?
Francis said the same thing about clericalism after his election and nothing has happened with that.
The words bishop and cardinal are not mentioned in the letter. Is Francis simply relying on people to throw them to the hands of the police?
I am stopping my regular contributions to the Church. I will support select charities but I think the bishops will not react until the money dries up. My bishop lives among the wealthy in a $300,000 house. Does he just sit there, hiding, repeating to himself “I was appointed by the Pope and nobody can touch me” – ?
Pope on sex abuse: We showed no care for the little ones
By NICOLE WINFIELD
VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis issued a letter to Catholics around the world Monday condemning the crime of priestly sexual abuse and its cover-up and demanding accountability, seeking to respond to new revelations in the United States of decades of misconduct by the Catholic Church.
Francis begged forgiveness for the pain suffered by victims and said lay Catholics must be involved in the effort to root out abuse and cover-up. He blasted the clerical culture that has been blamed for the crisis, with church leaders more concerned for their reputation than the safety of children.
“With shame and repentance, we acknowledge as an ecclesial community that we were not where we should have been, that we did not act in a timely manner, realizing the magnitude and the gravity of the damage done to so many lives,” Francis wrote.
“We showed no care for the little ones; we abandoned them.” . . .
. . . And it comes on the heels of Francis’ efforts to address a spiraling sex abuse scandal in Chile, which erupted during his problematic January visit. Francis has recently accepted the resignations of five of the 31 bishops who offered to step down over their disastrous handling of abuse cases. . . .
. . . Francis didn’t, however, provide any indication of what concrete measures he is prepared to take to sanction those bishops who covered up for rapists in their priestly ranks. Francis several years ago scrapped a proposed Vatican tribunal to prosecute negligent bishops, and he has refused to act on credible reports from around the world of bishops who have failed to report abusers to police or otherwise botched handling cases, and yet remain in office.
Francis also has kept on his nine-member kitchen cabinet a Chilean cardinal long accused of covering up for pedophiles, an Australian cardinal currently on trial for historic sex abuse charges and a Honduran cardinal recently implicated in a gay priest sex scandal involving his trusted deputy.
As a result, advocates for victims found his letter wanting. . . .
. . . Unlike the U.S. bishops’ conference, which has referred only to “sins and omissions” in their response to the Pennsylvania report, Francis labeled the misconduct “crimes.”
Vatican spokesman . . . said it was “significant” that Francis had used the term “crimes” and had called for accountability, “which in many cases means bishops.” . . .
. . . the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said it would ask Francis to authorize a Vatican investigation into the McCarrick scandal, since it was apparently an open secret in some Catholic circles that the cardinal regularly invited seminarians to his New Jersey beach house, and into his bed.
The Vatican hasn’t said if Francis would approve such an investigation. . . there is evidence that Vatican officials knew as early as 2000 of McCarrick’s penchant for seminarians, yet still appointed him as Washington archbishop and a cardinal. . . .
Here are the first steps. It takes time and it takes level heads to go about this the right way.
Are you honestly unaware of change?
The Church has already implemented a lot of successful change as indicated by the fact abuse allegations are very rare today. Kids are safer in a Catholic Church then they are the government schools, Protestant Churches or in a temple or mosque.
Moreover, when fully acquainted with the situation in Chile, Pope Francis sacked all of the bishops there.
They’re good words, but I am still skeptical of his will to actually take steps to address this problem. He complains about all the time about clericalism, but has surrounded himself with advisers that are textbook examples in clericalism and politicking. I’ll believe it when I see it.
Are you aware of the policies put into place after 2002?
What other changes would you suggest?
I think he still has some bishop and cardinal sacking to do… I’m hoping that comes next.
I agree. There are different issues too - sexual abuse of minors, sexual abuse of adolescent and adult males - 14-17 age, seminarians, and consensual homosexual relationships, actively gay priests, and widespread tolerance of same. Business as usual. I think there is a connection between all of these issues and the source is that Catholic teaching on sexuality and morality is now seen as optional and many in the clergy and hierarchy openly reject it. This is often characterized as ‘modernization’ or ‘recognizing the needs of modern day culture vs. the past.’ This is all code for the Church evolving, accommodating gay priests and bishops (a good percentage of the Church by many accounts), rejecting said teachings. Changing these teachings officially is a huge priority for the top advisors of the Pope and many liberal Catholics at all levels. I honestly don’t think you can just pray and fast and accept a few letters of resignation here and there, hold internal investigations and call it a day. This will be back again due to the nature of the problem; how you define the problem is what is at issue. The Pope is doing damage control, as much and only as far as the Vatican thinks it needs to go to keep the pews from emptying. Reluctantly. Or perhaps there are those who want to believe in apples and oranges - you can have some of this but not abuse of minors. My guess is the apples/oranges folks win, again, unless more and more comes out. Status quo, while shaken, is preserved. It’s a game of chicken, kind of, who blinks first, the exposers or the shut it downers. And who gets to pray and fast about all this? The laity!
The Holy Father’s letter, probably largely ghost-written as are many of his writings, cannot be his last word on this issue.
Literally every knowledgeable Catholic in the world has known for decades that the seemingly uncontrollable homosexuality of some priests, refusal by some seminary rectors to obey long-standing instructions from the Vatican banning gay applicants, and clericalism (and worse reasons) is why this scandal happens. Nevertheless, the letter did not address these matters.
All of us must pray that the Holy Father simply has reserved the obvious solution for initially private meetings and instruction. Those who find masculinity and the concept of Catholic fatherhood toxic must be removed.
Is that so? I heard that he accepted the resignation of 5, after all of them resigned.
To be fair, all these abuse reports like Pennsylvania or McCarrick that we have been hearing, happened in the past. I don’t know that we have enough data yet to evaluate the impact of changes that have already been made.
I wonder though, if the root cause has been identified and will be addressed. Because just putting in sanctions, and mechanisms and filters won’t stop all cases of abuse. I think there’s something deeper at the root of all this. I can’t quite put my finger on it but I suspect that the manner of the Church’s dealing with human sexuality is not as effective as it could be. Not perhaps the ideal of chastity according to one’s state in life which is of course laudable, but rather the means of getting there.
If the Church reduces sexuality to a set of rules to be followed with punishment when one fails, instead of a set of ideals to strive and train for, I think she will always fall well short of the ideal.
You say: “I wonder though, if the root cause has been identified and will be addressed.”
Of course the root cause has been identified by the Church; it’s the evil of active homosexuality.
But you are correct in wondering if the evil will be addressed:
I don’t think the root cause is homosexuality in and of itself. I think the problem is with predatory behavior. Predatory behavior can be found among heterosexuals as well.
There are many instances of predators’ “sharing” information-- witness the number of child porn rings, some of which were international.
These predators were allowed to slide and multiply in the Church, and because they seem to have been predominantly interested in young men, it appears to be a homosexual problem, but it is not: it is a predator problem.