Providing a list of accused priests was not sufficient

The Day

April 1, 2019

By The Day Editorial Board

It has been nearly two months since the Catholic Diocese of Norwich released its list of priests that it said had been credibly accused of sexual misconduct involving minors. If the purpose of releasing the list was intended to provide transparency and start to move past the scandal that has long dogged the church, it was an abject failure.

The problem is that Bishop Michael Cote wants to define the parameters of transparency, unadvised and unquestioned by any independent entity. He has lifted the veil, but only so far. The result is that rather than reassuring parishioners and the public, the attempt at coming clean has only generated more questions and, to a degree, created greater distrust about the church’s real intentions.

Was the intent to truly come to grips with what happened or to make a gesture and move on? The evidence suggests the latter was the greater motivation. It didn’t work.

The release of 43 names provided little context. There were names, dates of ordination, whether the individuals were removed from ministry, if they had died, and whether they were a member of the diocese at the time of the credible abuse allegations.

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