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another paper anniversary

By Jeff (articles ) | Apr 24, 2003

Today is the first anniversary of the final communique of the extraordinary meeting between the cardinals of the U.S. (and the USCCB leadership) and the heads of various curial dicasteries. Some excerpts:

Even if the cases of true pedophilia on the part of priests and religious are few, all the participants recognized the gravity of the problem. In the meeting, the quantitative terms of the problem were discussed, since the statistics are not very clear in this regard. Attention was drawn to the fact that almost all the cases involved adolescents and therefore were not cases of true pedophilia....

Given the doctrinal issues underlying the deplorable behavior in question, certain lines of response have been proposed: the Pastors of the Church need clearly to promote the correct moral teaching of the Church and publicly to reprimand individuals who spread dissent and groups which advance ambiguous approaches to pastoral care; a new and serious Apostolic Visitation of seminaries and other institutes of formation must be made without delay, with particular emphasis on the need for fidelity to the Churchs teaching, especially in the area of morality, and the need for a deeper study of the criteria of suitability of candidates to the priesthood....

We will propose an Apostolic Visitation of seminaries and religious houses of formation, giving special attention to their admission requirements and the need for them to teach Catholic moral doctrine in its integrity. We will propose that the Bishops of the United States make every effort to implement the challenge of the Holy Father that the present crisis "must lead to a holier priesthood, a holier episcopate, and a holier Church" by calling for deeper holiness in the Church in the United States, including ourselves as Bishops, the clergy, the religious and the faithful.

The public reprimanding of dissenters, the serious apostolic visitation of seminaries, the more widespread recognition that the problem is not pedophilia -- one can always hope, and pray.

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