December 22. 2018
It appears the Diocese of Norwich, after decades of refusing to be fully transparent and frank, is ready to come to grips with the scandal of predatory sexual abuse of minors by clergy.
Or maybe not.
Last week the diocese issued a brief statement that it plans to release the names of priests and deacons who were credibly accused of sexual abuse. This will occur sometime near the end of January, according to the release.
Only by coming clean about who was involved and how these cases were dealt with can the diocese specifically and the greater church generally begin slowly and painstakingly to rebuild confidence among parishioners and the public.
The Catholic Church has made corrections since the outrageous behavior by some priests − the cover-ups, the lack of any help for victims, and the transferring of predatory priests from one parish to the next − was uncovered by the press about two decades ago. Since then training requirements have been put in place for clergy, laypersons and volunteers who work with children about recognizing the signs of abuse. Under those rules, suspicion of misconduct is to be reported to police.
But victims of past predatory behaviors should not have to live with the knowledge that their assailants and those who enabled them remain protected by the church. People have a right to know who in the hierarchy of the church made decisions that allowed the conduct to continue and whether those persons still hold positions of authority.
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