June 21, 2019
A quarter century ago, towards the end of a year in which her children had been running amok, Queen Elizabeth lamented her annus horribilis, her horrible year. The bishops of America know that feeling.
The past year was indeed horrible for the leaders of America’s Catholic Church. Reports of clerical sex abuse and coverups — news headlines horribilis — rolled over them like a tank in a clover field to crush their collective reputation. The onslaught was unprecedented and relentless — and it was largely deserved.
But give the bishops credit for wasting no time in starting a long process to repair the damage. And not just in a cosmetic way, but by rolling up their sleeves with a genuine sense of urgency.
That resolve was apparent during the bishops’ June 11-13 general meeting in Baltimore. In a flurry of votes, they approved plans to implement without delay recent measures decreed by Pope Francis to safeguard minors, punish offenders and hold bishops accountable. And they took the added step of authorizing a third-party hotline to receive confidential allegations of abuse or coverup by bishops.
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