Is Denominational Accountability a Pipe Dream?

I read this interesting post at The Faithful Departed blog and was frankly filled with dismay. How can it be that after all that has been said and done to expose and address clergy sex abuse within the Catholic Church, the issue of accountability is still being deliberately overlooked by the existing authority structure?

The issue of clergy sex abuse is overwhelmingly HUGE. Some days I am so discouraged by the overall issue of abuse in the church I just want to walk away from church altogether. And those days are not few or far between. How can God stand to look at the church today? I cannot imagine, since the abuses and excessive the church today cannot be far off from the spiritual adultery of Israel which motivated Him to divorce Israel. This issue of abuse is only one of many grossly unbiblical and ungodly symptoms of a corrupted religious system.

But to the point of this post, it was discouraging to see, from the perspective of those on the inside, that while there have been strides made to address clergy guilty of sex abuse, the religious leaders who were knowingly complicit in covering and facilitating these abusers are still being protected by the highest levels of church authority. And we wonder why there is even less consideration of this issue in Protestant denominations who won’t even face the issue of clergy abuse yet?

I hope tomorrow is a better day.

My thanks to The Faithful Departed blog for this story.


Posted by M. Alexander


Ideological allies? Absolutely not. But although they disagree on many other things, these voices are singing in tune on one topic. See if you can pick out the dominant note:

* Voice of the Faithful press release:

Voice of the Faithful has publicly called for the Holy Father to ask for the resignations of all bishops who put the interests of the institutional Church before the safety of Catholic children.

* Sister Maureen Paul Turlish (writing in the Philadelphia Inquirer):

Not one bishop has been removed from office because of his own complicity, collusion or cover-up of the church’s continuing sexual-abuse problems. Nor has anyone been forced to resign for violating Canon Law or criminal or civil laws.

* Victims’ lawyer Mitchell Garabedian (quoted in the Boston Herald):

Mitchell Garabedian, a Boston attorney who has represented hundreds of clergy abuse victims, said Benedict needs to do more than meet with victims. He needs to remove the notorious bishops and supervisors who knowingly shuffled pedophile priests from parish to parish, allowing abuse to continue for years.

* CWN editor Phil Lawler (quoted in a Dallas Morning News editorial):

Mr. Lawler, a conservative Catholic and Benedict supporter, told us yesterday that he’s comforted by the pope’s admission of shame over abusive priests but that it isn’t enough. Said Mr. Lawler: “It would be truly liberating to hear him acknowledge that he is also ashamed of the bishops whose negligence – and even complicity – allowed the scandal to fester and undermined public confidence in the church.”

* Victims’ spokesman Peter Isely (quoted by AP):

“It’s easy and tempting to continually focus on the pedophile priests themselves,” said Peter Isely, a board member of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. “It’s harder but crucial to focus on the broader problem – complicity in the rest of the church hierarchy.”

* Bishop Accountability project (quoted in the New York Times):

Anne Barrett Doyle co-director of Bishop Accountability, a Web site that documents the sexual abuse scandal, expressed similar skepticism. She said that what the pope did not say is more important that what he did. “Rather than shifting attention to pedophile priests, he needs to focus on the culpability of bishops,” she said. “The crisis occurred because many U.S. bishops were willing to hide their priests’ crimes from the police with lies.”

Long Absence

It’s been a wild month! It’s the last part of the semester so I’ve had final projects and papers coming out my eyes. I’m down to the last two weeks – four finals to go, but I’m feeling well-prepared so I’m starting to breathe a little easier. Then I get about 3 weeks off before diving into the abbreviated summer term.