Catholic Church abuse scandal: Paul Ryan urges 'total transparency' as Pope Francis probes allegations
By Nicole Gaudiano
September 13, 2018
|House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis., attends a news conference, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018, in Washington.|
House Speaker Paul Ryan, a prominent Catholic, on Thursday called for transparency and accountability as the church examines a wave of clergy sex scandals and cover-up allegations.
"This needs to be elevated to truth and justice," the Wisconsin Republican said, responding to a reporter's question. "That means cleanse the problem with total transparency and total accountability so that the healing can begin, and so that the church can renew itself."
Ryan weighed in on the scandals as Pope Francis was set to meet with a delegation of Catholic leaders on the topic Thursday. On Wednesday, Francis summoned the presidents of Catholic bishops conferences worldwide to the Vatican in February to discuss protecting children and preventing sexual abuse by priests.
The meeting comes amid the growing criticism over the pope's handling of sex-abuse cases dating back decades. The latest allegations have divided reform-minded and traditional Catholics in what some are calling a "civil war."
"First, we need to think about the victims, and we need to make sure that the victims get the help they need," Ryan said. "Second, as a practicing Catholic, the last thing that this needs to be is become relegated to a fight between the Catholic left and the Catholic right."
Ryan said he prays for the the head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Houston Cardinal Daniel DiNardo as he heads to the Vatican and that DiNardo is "on the right track."
DiNardo requested the papal audience last month following revelations that now ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington, had risen through church ranks even though the allegations of sexual misconduct were known in U.S. and Vatican circles.
Asked whether he believes these leaders are trustworthy, Ryan said, "I don't know the facts. But the facts need to come out. That's the point I'm trying to make."