words on paper
Sister Mary Ann Walsh, the PR voice of the US bishops' conference, has joined in the criticism of Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos for his letter congratulating a French bishop for covering up priestly abuse. Here's her take on the notorious Castrillon missive:
His view stood in contrast to that of the U.S. bishops, who nine years before, in 1992, had issued their five principles for dealing with accusations of sexual abuse. No. 3: "Comply with the obligations of civil law as regards reporting of the incident and cooperating with the investigation."
You might not have realized that the US bishops had issued policies on dealing with sex-abuse violations way back in 1992: 12 years before the cascading revelations about sexual abuse and cover-ups drove them to Dallas for an emergency session that resulted in a completely new, improved set of policy guidelines. But there you have it. On paper, in 1992, the US bishops were recommending that abuse charges should be reported to law-enforcement authorities as required by law.
Yessirree, that was the official policy of the US bishops. On paper. So it's odd that-- as umpteen newspaper headlines and a slew of lawsuits demonstrated-- what the US bishops actually did was more often in line with Cardinal Castrillon's recommendations.
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