Bishop Accountability

Liam linked word of the Holy Father’s motu proprio on bishop accountability. I haven’t found the actual text yet, but I’m sure it’s soon to be out.

I noticed this:

… the competent Congregation of the Roman Curia may initiate an investigation on the issue, notifying the interested party and providing him the possibility of producing documents and witnesses. The bishop will be given the opportunity to defend himself using the means provided by the law. He will receive communication of all phases of the investigation and will always be granted the possibility of meeting the Superiors of the Congregations.

… a procedure that seemed to be lacking in some cases in which bishops were railroaded out of office for being insufficiently opposed to listening to new ideas.

SNAP is skeptical, but they always seem to be. David Clohessy:

A ‘process’ is helpful only if it’s used often enough to deter wrongdoing. We doubt this one will be.

“Wait and see” seems a prudent approach when victims have been treated so callously. Two comments from me.

First, any sort of legislation or process or law is only as good as those responsible for carrying it out. A future pope with intransigent bureaucrats could flout these procedures, and we can only pin a tail of “immorality” on that donkey.

Second, I would hope that pope, congregations, and bishops are inspired by the virtue of diligent administration, and not a fear of being caught and punished. Maybe there are still some JPII or B16 bishops out there who have skeletons in their chancery files. What’s the inspiration to do right? Or is the impetus to keep things hidden and closeted?

And what of the deep-sixing of the proposed tribunal? Pope Francis didn’t need such a body to urge the resignations of a few Midwestern bishops. Is that enough of an example for Mr Clohessy? Or is the additional proof he seeks one of a more public humiliation?

My take is that this is a step forward. If some bishops or bureaucrats blocked a tribunal, so be it. That news will itself set back Catholic institutional credibility a few years. I’m more hopeful that were getting closer to wakening from this nightmare of the cover-up of abuse. Parish clergy and especially lay people are taking the lead on this. Some bishops seem to have gotten it. Maybe some lay people need to get this isn’t a task to delegate to others. Faith formation of our children is a lay responsibility. So is the protection of children from predators. And so is the good governance of our leaders.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in bishops, Church News, Commentary, sex abuse and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Bishop Accountability

  1. Jim McCrea says:

    “The actions of men are the best interpreters of their thoughts.” John Locke, in An Essay Concerning Human Understanding

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