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Solutions to Church problems require not just new policies, but enforcement

September 09, 2011

Outside observers often believe that problems in the Catholic Church—such as the sex-abuse problem—could be resolved by setting forth better policies. John Allen, writing in the National Catholic Reporter says this belief is a myth.

Church officials don’t always adhere to prescribed policies, Allen explains.

Roma locuta est, causa finita est may be a terrific legal epigram, but it only goes so far in capturing real-world Catholic practice.

The real problem, Allen continues, is to ensure that policies are carried out—first and foremost, by Church leaders. He quotes Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York as favoring “accountability with teeth.” And Archbishop Charles Chaput, now of Philadelphia, adds: “I’m sympathetic to the idea that there should be real consequences, with teeth, to acting contrary to the law of the land, the discipline of the church, or the moral law of God.”


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  • Posted by: Defender - Sep. 10, 2011 2:27 PM ET USA

    "Accountablility with teeth"?? Really?? Archbishop Dolan is the president of the USCCB and was virtually silent when the gays marched in his city in early summer, has "gay-friendly" churches in his own archdiocese and seemed surprised as the NY governor pushed the gay marriage bill throught the legislature. Start with a few excommunications and firing of pastors-if not it would be better to remain silent.

  • Posted by: mwean7331 - Sep. 09, 2011 6:23 PM ET USA

    Perhaps this "accuntability with teeth" could start with bringing the Bishop in Austria to task for his laisse se faire towards the dissident clergy under his superevision. The Vatican can't really say they are not aware of it (or can they?)