In the Buffalo diocese, the wrong sort of investigation?

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Oct 07, 2019

Hat tip to Siobhan O’Connor, the Buffalo whistleblower, for calling attention to the fact that the Vatican’s apostolic visitation of that diocese is “not subject to the recent instruction of the Holy See, Vos Estis.” Here’s one more demonstration that the Vatican still has no credible plan to hold bishops accountable for covering up abuse.

Vos Estis set down guidelines for investigating bishops who are accused of covering up abuse. Buffalo’s Bishop Richard Malone is accused of covering up abuse. So why wouldn’t the investigation be done under the terms of Vos Estis?

As with the provisions of the Dallas Charter, so too the provisions of the new Vatican document are only as reliable as the people who enforce them. When the Vatican sets out new rules (to pacify public opinion?) but then ignores those rules when they clearly apply, it shows—yet again—the lack of commitment to take this problem seriously, to tackle it methodically, to enact clear standards that will produce clear results and thereby restore credibility.

Yes, it’s true that the Vatican is investigating Bishop Malone, and that looks like a step in the right direction. But in doing so, it appears that the Vatican isn’t following its own rules. So even if this investigation yields the right result, we have no guarantee regarding the next case.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

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