Nothing From Summit

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Pope Francis leads the opening session of the meeting on the protection of minors in the church at the Vatican on February 21

Notes from the Vatican summit on clerical child abuse…

Priest and canon lawyer Tom Doyle writes:

The so-called “summit” on the clergy sex abuse crisis was not a total failure. The process and the outcome of the Feb. 21-24 meeting of bishops at the Vatican were clearly a serious disappointment to the victim-survivors, their families and countless others who hoped for something concrete to happen.

The accomplishments can only be understood in the context of the totality of the event: the speeches, especially those of the three women, the bishops’ deliberations, the media reaction, and the presence and participation of the victims-survivors from at least 20 countries.

I have been directly involved in this nightmare since 1984, when the reality of sexual violation of the innocent by clerics, and the systemic lying and cover-up by the hierarchy (from the papacy on down) emerged from layers of ecclesiastical secrecy into the open.

By 1985, Pope John Paul II and several high-ranking Vatican clerics possessed detailed information about what was quickly turning into the church’s worst crisis since the Dark Ages.

From that time onward, bishops on various levels of church bureaucracy have been engaged in almost nonstop rhetoric about the issue that has been a mixture of denial, blame-shifting, minimization, explanations (the most bizarre, that it’s the work of the devil), apologies, expressions of regret, promises of change.

The rhetoric has been accompanied by procedures, policies, protocols and a few changes in canon law. The gathering in February was no exception.

There were no revelations, statements, speeches or promises from anyone involved in the meetings that were new…Everything that was said has already been proclaimed publicly by someone from within the church’s system, from among the victims and survivors or from their supporters.

The other element that fits right in with the bishops’ pattern of response over the past 35 years is that they made promises but did nothing.

People have been begging the bishops for years to stop talking about it. Stop the endless flow of empty platitudes and empty promises and do something.

Unfortunately, the hierarchy’s long-held belief that their words are sufficient to change reality has been completely useless…(more at link below)

Abuse summit achieved something, but not what Pope or bishops expected (National Catholic Reporter)

Pic: CNS/Vatican Media

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