The head of the US bishops abuse panel admits he and his colleagues have no credibility because of recent scandals in Philadelphia and Kansas City. He's half-right.
The real reason bishops' credibility is "shredded" is because decades of secrecy, recklessness and callousness have been followed by one full decade of broken promises and continued deceit. It's not because of one or two local scandals. It's because bishops pledged real reform but have delivered only superficial change. They promised, in 2002, to change their actual behavior, but have only changed their formal policies.
Just recently, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the head of the US bishops' conference, attacked a 16 year old victim on his website. Months ago, Archbishop Robert Carlson of St. Louis filed court papers trying to get private emails of a 19 year old victim.
It's hundreds of on-going hurtful moves like these that have "shredded" bishops' credibility. It's not one or two bishops' misdeeds.
Prelates promised tangible improvement. They're delivering public relations. That's why they have a credibility crisis.
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