Why weren't priests/bishops "punished" for abuse?


Is it true that no priests were “fired” by the church after being accused of sexual abuse? That they were just moved around by bishops from church to church? If this is true, why hasn’t this been corrected? Why haven’t priests been “fired” and bishops penalized for simply moving them around?

  1. False. By now virtually ALL bishops remove a priest from ministry upon credible accusations being made. Guilt is not presumed, but invesigation is made to determine credibility. For many years, a good number of bishops shamefully chose to cover up the scandal and abdicated their moral responsibility. In some cases priests were transferred with no care taken at all to prevent repeat offenses. In others bishops foolishly trusted secular therapists’ judgement that the offenders were no longer dangerous and reassigned them. But it is outrageous exaggeration to say “no priests were fired .”
  2. As noted above, some bishops clearly didn’t believe it could be true and just transferred priests without proper investigation. Others abdicated their responsibility to shepherd their priests in favor of psychiatrists. It is possible that a few bishops were abusers themselves.
  3. It has been corrected. Read a newspaper in the last 10 years?
  4. Priests have been removed. Guilty ones are in jail and have been ‘laicized’ (whatever that really means). Bishops are trickier. Bishops have no “boss” per se to ‘fire’ them. The pope is the spiritual head of the church, but he is not simply the CEO and bishops mere regional presidents. History shows removal of bishops for heretical teachings is doable, but not so much guidance on ‘firing’ them for doing a lousy job at being a bishop. Care must be taken not to adopt a cure as bad as the disease. Removal of a bishop for non-doctrinal reasons would inevitably make relations with the Eastern Church stickier, and for good reason.


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