You're the doctor. You tap the patient's knee with the rubber mallet. You watch for the reaction. How long do you wait before you decide this patient has a serious problem?
The seminary scandal in St. Pölten, Austria, hit the headlines just last week. Outrage! Headlines! Furor! And wham-bam! within 10 days the Vatican has named an apostolic administrator. Good. The patient's nervous system, at least, seems intact.
In April 2002, the leaders of the US bishops' conference traveled to the Vatican for an emergency meeting on the scandal in this country. Together, the Roman Curia and the American prelates issued a statement announcing (among other things) that "a new and serious Apostolic Visitation of seminaries and other institutes of formation must be made without delay."
27 months later, we're still waiting for a visible response.
Maybe it's time to pick up the mallet and tap again. Harder.
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