Lots of speculation online today about the “three bishops.” Mark Silk is convinced one must be Robert Finn, my ordinary until I left the diocese in 2008. Another speculator, Josephine McKenna, considers Scotland, Poland, and Chile.
Predictably, SNAP higher-ups have been in the comboxes there and also in the mainstream press. Many think Pope Francis is not doing enough. Many think it’s all talk and PR. Some think he lacks a grasp of the gravity of the matter.
I would hope we are not looking to and depending on the Bishop of Rome to settle this mess. It might seem easy for Pope Francis to go Bill Morris on bishops we don’t like and pink slip them off to monasteries, penitentiaries, and the like. But the truth is that fathers, followed by mothers, are numbers one and two on the list of the most likely people to abuse children. Society as a whole has a problem with people abusing powers and using sex and shame to control the innocent. Pope Francis can speak out against that if he wishes and will get no resistance from me. But the ultimate responsibility for safety from predation lies with all of us. And even children have a part to play.
In the eyes of the abuse ally players, Judy Jones and David Clohessy and all, that might sound like a cop-out. But it’s not. I think we have to take a close look around us, and maybe even ourselves.
But some people aren’t ready for that. Including bishops. I think it’s enough to do what we can, within our own circle of friends and contacts. I sincerely doubt I have an influence over my bishop. I know I’m completely off the Holy Father’s radar. Maybe people who always appear in press releases and at press conferences and who seem to be quoted whenever somebody sneezes “sex abuse,” have more pull. Or think they do.
I do what I have time to do, and what I think will make an impact. I review monthly bulletins from VIRTUS not because my diocese gets an insurance break on bad news, but because the info helps me to be more aware of abuse situations and possibilities. I try to be a better parent. I stay watchful at the parish when kids are about. I write here and get the occasional person upset.
I’m not going to agree with the SNAP talking heads who think Pope Francis should make like a bowling ball with bishops that look like pins. I’m not sure the best solution is always to depose a bishop. That disagreed upon, can we still be allies?