BALTIMORE — On Aug. 16, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo made U.S. Catholics a promise.
The cardinal, president of the U.S. bishops’ conference, wrote that a summer of scandal had revealed a spiritual crisis in the Church, through which “scores of beloved children of God were abandoned to face an abuse of power alone.”
“This is a moral catastrophe,” he wrote, while acknowledging that “one root cause is the failure of episcopal leadership.”
“We firmly resolve,” he wrote, “with the help of God’s grace, never to repeat it.”
As the bishops prepare to hold their first formal meeting since this summer’s scandal began to unfold, many Catholics are incredulous at the promise that episcopal failures of leadership will not happen again. Some Catholics remember that it was former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick who in 2002 promised that “we all look to end this, for the sake of the victims, for the sake of the Church, the sake of our people.”
The U.S. bishops have never faced a crisis like this. It has been more than four months since allegations against now-Archbishop McCarrick were made public, and anger has still not abated.
Many Catholics wonder what will be different this time. And now the U.S. Attorney’s Office wonders, as well: Amid the cascade of allegations made against bishops, state attorneys general have opened investigations, as has the federal government.
Several bishops have told CNA that they sincerely don’t know what Catholics expect right now, or how to meet the expecta...
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