n Aug. 17, 2021, in a prepared statement regarding the healing process for the victims of clergy sexual abuse scandal, Buffalo Bishop Michael Fisher acknowledged that the church “must go to whatever length is required to demonstrate genuine remorse.”
Another Voice: Buffalo bishop must show true remorse to victims of abuse
The question unanswered by Fisher is what specific steps the Catholic church needs to take to demonstrate “genuine remorse.” Our bishop offered no options, ideas or solutions in his statement as to how he wants to demonstrate genuine remorse for the church’s role in this abuse.
As a daily Mass attendee, a Eucharistic minister and instructor of RCIA, I offer the following options to our bishop as steps that may show the victims of clergy sexual abuse that the church is capable of demonstrating genuine remorse. Also, as a lawyer, I have represented several of the priests in the sex abuse scandal.
The bishop needs to make all of the records of clergy abuse held by the diocese available to the victims as a gesture of transparency.
Jesus was quite clear that he intended the church to be one for the poor, the neglected and the needy. Jesus was born in a stable, never owned a home and died between two criminals. He was committed to the needs of the poor and marginalized. As a Catholic, I want a poor church, one that embraces the needs of the most vulnerable, broken and marginalized.
By adopting these suggestions and others, the Catholic Church can get back to practicing the teachings of Jesus, which are to bring “good tidings to the poor and set captives free.”
Michael S. Taheri is a Catholic parishioner and lawyer who has given pro bono representation to several priests in the Diocese of Buffalo.