I began following The Southern Cross, the media organ of the Catholic Church in South Africa when they began implementing MR3 a few years ago. I return to that site regularly for sensible commentary. This week, editor Günther Simmermacher offers a South African perspective on the Vatican’s new norms for dealing with sexual abuse.
He touches on many issues, the Amnesty International condemnation, the Jay report, the authority tension between Rome and the local bishop.
The money quote:
Only a policy that is uniform, transparent and accountable will put to rest questions about the Church’s unequivocal commitment to rid itself of clerical sexual abuse.
Mr Simmermacher acknowledges that it is “remarkable” that Vatican norms are even needed. Truly, the idea that bishops need guidelines to deal with sinful behavior suggests that for all the institutional talk about sex and abuse, the clergy and hierarchy are ignorant about it all when you boil the issue down to essentials.
Mr Simmermacher also concedes that if a bishop screws up in handling a case, there’s pretty much nothing to be done. Except to watch the moral reputation of bishops, if not Catholicism as a whole, continue to circle the drain.