SHOULD THE POPE DISCIPLINE THE BISHOPS?

By almost any standard Pope Benedict’s visit to the United States has been a success. He confronted the priests’ sexual abuse scandal head on confessing his own “shame” at what happened in his own church. He broke precedent and astonished many when he met several abuse victims in Washington.

The victims themselves have only one further request for the Pope — that he should remove from office those bishops who aided and abetted the protection of pedophile priests. They would amount to about a dozen bishops among the upwards of the 400 in the United States. These dozen bishops would be forced to resign but they could still carry in some church post. They would not, however, ever again be in charge of priests.

These bishops will argue that they consulted experts who told them such and such a priest would not offend again. Is that a sufficient defense?

Should the Pope remove some bishops who are still the head of a diocese?

11 Comments »

  1. 1
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    Neil writes: “By almost any standard Pope Benedict’s visit to the United States has been a success.”

    I would take issue with that. These scandals were brought to the surface more than two decades ago and the Vatican and John Paul II were not only SLOW in responding but they UnTrumaned as much as they could by passing the buck and blaming everyone but themselves.

    I remember around ’90 reading a report in the paper in which the Pope blamed the abuse on the prevailing mores of society. Everybody but him. I was so outraged I wrote the Vatican asking them to clarify the Pope’s words.

    It took them a year and a half to respond to me…and all I got back was some vague statement that had absolutely nothing to do with what I had asked.

    Success? No, my choice of words would be “high time”.

    “Respondeat Superior”…latin for “let the master answer”. In other words, latin for “the buck stops here”, a tenet the Catholic Church would do well to adopt.

    As for what to do with the Bishops? Firstly, let law enforcement have a go at them. On what charges? I don’t know…conspiracy? Complicity after the fact? Aiding and abetting? Let them rot in jail where they belong if that is what the justice system deems appropriate.

    And for those that escape jail? Let them meet the fate of Robert DeNiro’s character in the movie “True Confessions” in which he played a priest to Robert Duvall’s detective. When found to be involved in corrupt dealings he spent the rest of his priesthood banished to some small desert town in California. Strip these guys of the trappings of their office and send them off to work with lepers in India.

  2. 2
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    Let the law follow it’s course. Banishment has also been used in Québec for alcoholic and sexually deviant priests. We are not Calfornia, but we have several far out and isolated parishes where a priest is worse than in prison.

  3. 3
    jim Says:

    If B16 really wants to do something about the priests and bishops sex problems right now instead of 10 years from now, he should start with the worst offender amongst the bishops, Cardinal Mahoney of San Francisco. He has appointed and transferred more children fondlers than all the other bishops combined. B16 claims he is going to filter out applicants to the priesthood who have sex problems. But why doesn’t he dump those offenders already known to the bishops. Well it’s not going to happen, he too busy praying for the conversion of the Jews, which would include Jesus by the way.

  4. 4
    Peter LeBlanc Says:

    The Pope met with some of the victims. The victims allegations have not met with enough evidence to put the Priests in jail. I am all for the law in

    putting people in jail for the safety of the public. Not for punishment. As a practising Roman Catholic I think the Pope failed in not telling the victims that although they may have been innocent of the offences done to them , they like all of us are guilty of other offences we have done to other people. The only possibility of any healing is if we “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”.

  5. 5
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    Peter, I thought “we” were asking God to “forgive us our trespasses as we…” Is’nt forgiving ourselves a bit presumptuous?

  6. 6
    LaVrai Says:

    In light of all the fawning over Pope Benedict XVI, I would like to remind everyone exactly how this pope feels about the sexual abuse of children and those who do the abusing: In 2001, while he was a cardinal, he issued a secret Vatican edict to Catholic bishops all over the world, instructing them to put the Church’s interests ahead of child safety.

    http://lavrai.com/blogs/2008/04/20/pope-led-cover-up-of-child-abuse-by-priests/

  7. 7
    Cornelius T. Zen Says:

    Good morrow, all! The bishops that aided and abetted the protection of child abusers under their jurisdiction are guilty of aiding and abetting the crime. Your Holiness, you have but one correct choice of action. Defrock them. Otherwise, you have compounded the felony, and you have participated in the corruption. The Church exists to serve the faithful, not the other way around. Benedict, do your duty. Unless and until you do, Jesus will have ample reason to weep. CTZEn.

  8. 8
    Joe Agnost Says:

    “I think the Pope failed in not telling the victims that although they may have been innocent of the offences done to them , they like all of us are guilty of other offences we have done to other people.”

    Am I reading this right??

    Are you suggesting that the pope erred because he didn’t lecture these victims on THEIR sins?? That’s compassion for ya…

    The pope has failed to adequately address this issue, and he’ll continue to ignore it the best he can. He wants it to simply go away – and that’s why he will never do the right thing. There is far too much blame (deservedly) for the RCC and that’s bad for business.

  9. 9
    Peter LeBlanc Says:

    Paul, The Our Father teaches us to ask forgiveness for ourselves as we forgive others who have wronged us. By the way its not presumptous to forgive ourselves if we believe God has already forgiven us.

    Joe, I think the Pope could have reminded those who want more than what has already been done that forgiving the Priests who have offended them will be a healing experience. In a Pastoral way he could have reminded them that some Priests are guilty 4% and we also are guilty of something and need forgiveness.

  10. 10
    Joe Agnost Says:

    “I think the Pope could have reminded those who want more than what has already been done that forgiving the Priests who have offended them will be a healing experience.”

    Or if (a big “if” I know) he really cared about these victims he could do the honourable thing and pursue the vile, disgusting assholes who helped rape them (cardinal Law comes to mind) and rid his organization of them!!!

    But that won’t happen because I think it’s obvious to most that the vatican was issuing the orders and people like Bernard Law were just following orders. How can you punish Law when he was just doing what he was told (cover up, transfer the raping priests, hide evidence, conceal conceal conceal!)?

  11. 11
    Joe Agnost Says:

    BTW – if you think the vatican WASN’T issuing the orders to the cardinals like Bernard Law can you explain why Law was promoted and given a nice cushy job in vatican city??

    How does a person do what Law did and not only KEEP his job, but get promoted??? I think it’s simple…….


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