Convincing Skeptics or Doing Good Work?

I felt a bit miffed at the RNS headline on David Gibson’s analysis of the Vatican’s sex abuse commission. The point of the group is not to convince skeptics, but to do good work. Commission member Peter Saunders:

I’m actually very, very hopeful that there are going to be some very significant things happening (especially on disciplining bishops).

Mr Saunders also is giving the task a limited window to get things done:

(I)f in a year or two there isn’t some firm action on those matters then I don’t think I’ll be sitting here talking to you.

We’re not here for lip service. We’re here to protect our children.

This is right. Good work remains yet to be done. The skeptics–and I would probably include myself among them, will need a generation of bishops to be sure–fifteen years and into the next papacy. The deepest scandal is that we have so many untrustworthy shepherds, and then there are bishops out there we are not sure about.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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3 Responses to Convincing Skeptics or Doing Good Work?

  1. crystal says:

    Removing the bishops already known to have covered up abuse would help to convincing me that the church is serious. It doesn’t seem like that will happen. I think the commission has some good members, but all they can do is make recommendations – if the Vatican doesn’t have the will to follow them, it won’t have to.

    • Todd says:

      You may be right. And while it might be heartening to see bishops fired, there’s a theological problem with one bishop (even in Rome) pink-slipping another.

      That said, if a conference were empowered to listen to the input of the people in a diocese, that would be a far better solution. The previous two popes pushed that theological envelope, but never for a bishop who had morally transgressed by harboring predators. That, I think, is part of the JP2/B16 legacy: firm on doctrine, but limp on moral conduct in administration.

  2. crystal says:

    Reading the first bit of Robert Mickens letter from Rome is not encouraging …

    But about bishops firing bishops … bishops have been fired, like the bishop who had the expensive house (though now he has a nice job at the Vatican). If it takes a pope to fire bishops then he should do it. At the end of the day, all these administrative rules are created and I don’t see why they can’t be changed. It made my skin crawl to know guys like Mahony and Law have their nice jobs and have never heard even a word of criticism from the Vatican. I’m sure they would have been fired if they had had secular jobs. As long as the Vatican pretends those guys have done nothing wrong, it will be impossible for me to believe they care about abuse victims. Sorry, don’t mean to rant ;)

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