May 9, 2020
By Anne Barrett Doyle, Co-Director, BishopAccountability.org
A year ago, Pope Francis enacted new procedures for investigating bishops accused of abuse or of covering up clergy sex crimes.
Last Thursday, on May 7, one year to the day since Vos Estis Lux Mundi was promulgated, we learned of what appears to be its first removal of a complicit bishop.
A two-line announcement in the Vatican’s daily bulletin noted that the Pope had accepted the resignation of Bishop Joseph R. Binzer from the office of the auxiliary of the Cincinnati archdiocese. Lay Catholic media are reporting that Bishop Binzer was found guilty under Vos Estis, meaning that he was found guilty of intentionally interfering with or avoiding an investigation of an abusive cleric. We don’t know this for sure, however; neither the Pope nor his proxies have made any comment.
Some might point to Binzer’s resignation as a sign that Vos Estis is working. Seen differently, it reveals serious flaws in the Pope’s plan.
Despite repeatedly concealing allegations against a priest now slated to be tried for child rape, Binzer remains not only an archdiocesan priest, but a bishop, with the prestige and financial benefits that status entails.
Is this what passes for ‘accountability’ under the Pope’s new law? An opaque process, Vatican control, papal silence, and the softest of landings for an official who twice ignored allegations against a priest?
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