The Faithful Are Crying Out for Action. Will Church Leaders Listen?

National Catholic Register

September 23, 2018

The Editors

EDITORIAL: ‘We want a Church that proclaims truth profoundly. We want a Church that proclaims the teachings of our Church honestly.’

Since the news of sex-abuse allegations against former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and accusations of cover-up broke early this summer, laity across the United States — victims, angry parishioners who felt they were kept in the dark about predators in their midst, and parents worried for their children — have spoken out loudly. They have begged the bishops for action, for transparency and for clarity.

The most concrete and official response demonstrating that the bishops have heard the pleas of the laity came Sept. 19, when the administrative committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops released a statement outlining a plan of action that included four key points: a third-party reporting system for complaints of sexual abuse by bishops; policies for restricting bishops who were removed or resigned because of allegations; a “Code of Conduct” for bishops regarding sexual abuse; and support for a full investigation into disgraced Archbishop McCarrick.

Pope Francis, who met with U.S. Church leaders in Rome a week before their statement, has stressed his desire for the Church to engage in deeper listening. On Sept. 12, he announced that he has convened a meeting at the Vatican for all the presidents of the Catholic bishops’ conferences worldwide to discuss the issue of sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults. Days later, he issued a new apostolic constitution on the Synod of Bishops, Episcopalis Communio (Episcopal Communion), dated Sept. 15, revising the way synods function.

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