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Bishop: Credibility of Catholic hierarchy ‘shredded’ on issue of sexual abuse

Bishop: Credibility of Catholic hierarchy ‘shredded’ on issue of sexual abuse

The credibility of Catholic bishops on the issue of sexual abuse is “shredded,” according to Bishop R. Daniel Conlin,who serves as chairman of the bishops’ Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People. While he personally believes the Catholic hierarchy has adopted a new “entirely different spirit of openness and accountability,” no one seems to be buying into that view, he notes. From USA Today:

The U.S. Catholic bishops’ point man on sexual abuse has said that the hierarchy’s credibility on fixing the problem is “shredded” and that the situation is comparable to the Reformation, when “the episcopacy, the regular clergy, even the papacy were discredited.”

Bishop R. Daniel Conlon of Joliet, Ill., last month told a conference of staffers who oversee child safety programs in American dioceses that he had always assumed that consistently implementing the bishops’ policies on child protection, “coupled with some decent publicity, would turn public opinion around.”

“I now know this was an illusion,” Conlon, chairman of the bishops’ Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People, said in an address on Aug. 13 to the National Safe Environment and Victim Assistance Coordinators Leadership Conference in Omaha, Neb.

His talk was published in the Aug. 30 edition of Origins, an affiliate of Catholic News Service.

Conlon said that the conviction of a high-ranking church official in Philadelphia for covering up clergy abuse and the upcoming trial of a bishop in Missouri on charges of failing to report a priest on suspicions of child abuse have contributed to a widespread impression that the bishops “have failed to keep their commitments.”

The bishop disputed that view, but said even close friends “turned almost hostile” over dinner recently when he said the hierarchy has adopted “an entirely different spirit of openness and accountability.”

Read full story here.


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To see how they “don’t get it”, RCC Bishop Finn of Kansas City was just found guilty this week on obstruction of justice relative to hiding one of his priests back in 2010. Finn was sentenced to two years probation, fines, etc.

That’s 2010. Not 1950.

Kevin McGrane


I don’t think there is any comparison between mainline US churches and the RCC. The RCC lives in its own alternative universe.

The RCC in the USA intentionally ghettoized itself starting back in the 19th century, and is now a paranoid institution with a permanent bunker mentality: all who are not RCC are The Enemy; any who bucks the institution is a traitor.

I do not see how the RCC could reform itself and regain any credibility with its rank-&-file without a complete repudiation of its essential character. It would first have to commit suicide, m’thinks…

Kevin McGrane

Leslie Scoopmire

The fact that clergy were protected and allowed to rape, rape, rape, and that the hierarchy put more emphasis on proecting said clergy versus protecting the Laity who comprise the Church MIGHT– just MIGHT– have something to do with this “shredding,” and that they still have not recognized the absolute abject acceptance of their very grave fault.

Mary Ann Hill

Something like South Africa’s Truth and Reconcilliation Commission could make a big difference but it would be very costly.

Tom Sramek Jr

Part of this, I think, is that the Roman Catholic Church, like most mainline churches, has developed a defensive, survivalist, victim mindset where everything ends up being an “attack against Christianity.” It’s hard to be open and accountable and defensive at the same time.

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