Oh, good. In February the Pope might make a statement about abuse

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Dec 10, 2018

Give John Allen credit for honesty, in his analysis (for Crux) of what we can expect from the February meeting at the Vatican to discuss the sex-abuse crisis. Not much:

Almost by definition, Americans are likely to be frustrated with what may seem the scant results of the February meeting.

It will be a short meeting, Allen observes, and the agenda is restricted. A large number of the participating bishops are still not convinced that this really is a crisis. Dramatic action is unlikely.

But don’t despair, Allen counsels readers; some good could come from the meeting:

Well, for one thing, the meeting gives Francis a chance to deliver an unequivocal message that clerical sexual abuse is a universal problem, one that requires the participation of the Church at all levels to resolve.

Wait a minute. Now the Pope has a chance to make a statement?

Twenty-three years after Gilber Gauthe’s guilty plea, eighteen years after Cardinal Groër’s resignation, sixteen years after the Boston Globe exposé, nine years after the Murphy Commission report in Ireland, eight years after the police raid on Belgian bishops’ headquarters, five years after the creation of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, nine months after the entire Chilean hierarchy resigned, seven months after the McCarrick revelations, now there’s a chance to send a message?

And what would that message be? What could the Pope say, that hasn’t already been said? There’s no shortage of statements, from Pope Francis and others, about the need to crack down on clerical abuse. What’s lacking is action. And Allen is honest enough to tell us that we shouldn’t expect action in February.

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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  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Dec. 12, 2018 4:42 PM ET USA

    The Sullins/Ruth Institute report demonstrates an ongoing crisis. Figures 2 and 3 in this report show a percentage decrease in total number of allegations for the decade 2000-2009, but an increase from 2010-2018. Fig. 4 and 5 show a numeric increase in alleged incidents from the 2005-2009 to the 2010-2014 interval. Fig. 6 and 7 show an increase in reported incidents between the same intervals. Sullins: "child...abuse by Catholic priests...not...a transient problem that has largely disappeared."

  • Posted by: feedback - Dec. 12, 2018 12:14 AM ET USA

    If the recent Baltimore meeting can serve as an indication of what to expect, it becomes apparent that the February meeting is most likely going to be another smoke screen to protect gays in the hierarchy and the ongoing admission of new gays into the seminaries. And at the same time it will be a major waste of the bishops' time and of the people's money, not to mention the carbon footprint from all the jet fuel spent on flying everybody back and forth across the globe.

  • Posted by: Monserrat - Dec. 11, 2018 8:17 PM ET USA

    Give'em hell Phil. I'm with you! The aware, faithful laity are in the mode of Peter Finch in Network: mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. As you advocate: sincere, heartfelt prayer is step #1. Step #2 - Instead of leaving the Church, support traditional Catholic teaching & worship to the fullest extent possible. Step #3, target Church giving with a restricted check so that it won't go to the corrupt network causes. Step #4, continue to give 'em hell and don't let up.

  • Posted by: MatJohn - Dec. 11, 2018 7:52 PM ET USA

    Phil, this guy is quite late for the party. You have long since been saying the sand thing.

  • Posted by: dover beachcomber - Dec. 11, 2018 1:44 PM ET USA

    Brilliant next-to-last paragraph, with its litany of past opportunities for the hierarchy to take action. But instead of action, we’ve been fobbed off with words, words, words. Someone should tell Pope Francis that here in the U.S., we have a saying: talk is cheap. And we can probably have that translated into Italian for him by February.

  • Posted by: MWCooney - Dec. 11, 2018 12:06 PM ET USA

    What I fear is that there *will* be something accomplished during the "kangaroo" meeting, and that it will be a further descent into and solidifying of the rot and stench already dominant. We already know that what should be done is (barring divine intervention) not in the cards, but we need to prepare ourselves for the next satanic maneuver being planned by his minions.

  • Posted by: thomas28899 - Dec. 11, 2018 9:36 AM ET USA

    What a sad waste of time and money for nothing to be accomplished.... if that's what happens. Wouldn't it be refreshing if the Pope said something like... "We probably won't accomplish anything, in this meeting so we're going to follow the suggestion of John the Baptist and donate to the poor and equal amount to what it cost to assemble it"

  • Posted by: dfp3234574 - Dec. 10, 2018 8:16 PM ET USA

    "A large number of the participating bishops are still not convinced that this really is a crisis." And that large number is correct. Almost *all* of the alleged wrongdoings took place *many decades ago*. There is no crisis. The Church has made monumental efforts at restitution for nearly a quarter century. Enough already. Catholic media & the laity are failing the Church by not fighting back against this clear Satanic attack on the Church by the m-media, lawyers, and so-called 'victims' groups.

  • Posted by: shrink - Dec. 10, 2018 7:47 PM ET USA

    Since Vatican 2, the uptick in the percentage of homosexual clergy has reached well into episcopacy, and perhaps even to the papacy itself. If any pope were to really address the problem of pederasty, it would inevitably result in a purge of the gay priests, and all the way back to Paul VI, each pope knew that there are simply too many gays in high positions, with too much money for that to happen. So, let's just keep on talkin.