Francis falters in addressing sex abuse
Dennis Coday, Sep. 23, 2015, National Catholic Reporter
Let me make just one short observation, about an obviously heartfelt, multifaceted address by Pope Francis to the U.S. bishops. There are many things to compliment and tease out of this speech over coming days. There was, however, one glaring oversight that will draw criticism.
Francis made one (Vatican correspondent Josh McElwee called it “oblique”) reference to the clergy sexual abuse crisis. Here is the entire paragraph:
I am also conscious of the courage with which you have faced difficult moments in the recent history of the Church in this country without fear of self-criticism and at the cost of mortification and great sacrifice. Nor have you been afraid to divest whatever is unessential in order to regain the authority and trust which is demanded of ministers of Christ and rightly expected by the faithful. I realize how much the pain of recent years has weighed upon you and I have supported your generous commitment to bring healing to victims – in the knowledge that in healing we too are healed – and to work to ensure that such crimes will never be repeated.
This was followed by loud applause. Given the audience, I guess that's not surprising, but it was sadly disappointing.
I have to wonder where is the forthrightness we have come to expect of Pope Francis. At the very least he could have used the words “clergy sexual abuse of minors.” This oblique reference will do . . .
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.