Pope Needs to Take Action, Not Make Statements

By Barbara Dorris
April 5, 2013

Once again, as has happened hundreds of times already, a top Catholic official says he’s asking another top Catholic official to take action about pedophile priests and complicit bishops.

Big deal.

Actions speak louder than words. And one of the first actions Pope Francis took was to visit perhaps the most high profile corrupt prelate on the planet – Cardinal Bernard Law – who remains a powerful church official despite having been drummed out of Boston for hiding and enabling crimes by hundreds of child molesting clerics.

It's tragic that Pope Francis is asking a top aide to stay on the irresponsible path charted by Pope Benedict. It's tragic that a pope who's shown a willingness to send signals that hint at change in several ways is not signaling that he wants no change in how the church deals with child sex crimes and cover ups.

Kids won’t be helped by a “continuation” of the tiny symbolic gestures taken by Pope Benedict. Kids will be helped by decisive changes. Thus far, Pope Francis hasn’t even discussed, much less adopted, even a single reform. In fact, by visiting Law, the pope has continued to ignore – and thus encourage – heinous wrongdoing.

Some will say "At least the new pope is discussing abuse within his first month as head of the church. Isn't that progress?" It's not. Catholic officials have long discussed abuse - privately for centuries and publicly for decades. Action, not discussion, is needed.

We can't confuse words with actions. When we do, we hurt kids. We must insist on new tangible action that helps vulnerable children protect their bodies, not old vague pledges that help a widely-discredited institution protect its reputation.








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