Op-ed: Will the new Vatican commission on abuse answer the one crucial question?

By Phil Lawler

Today’s Vatican announcement that the Pope will create a new commission answers every question—except the one question everyone is asking.

What we don’t know is whether the new commission will take action against bishops who fail in their own responsibilities: bishops who cover up abuse. So we don’t know whether the commission will address the root cause of the scandal.

We know that the new commission will issue guidelines for handling sex-abuse issues. But we don’t know if bishops will follow those guidelines.

We know that the new commission will develop “safe-environment” programs for use in diocese. But we don’t know whether these programs work.

Yes, we know that the new commission will consult with “experts” on abuse. But will they keep consulting the same experts on whose advise the bishops kept placing abusive priests back into parish ministry?

We know that the new commission will address the issue of cooperation with government officials. But we don’t know whether individual bishops are willing to cooperate.

If you can’t trust the bishops, you can’t trust the Church’s response to sex-abuse complaints. The challenge facing the Church—the same urgent challenge that has been facing the Church for over a decade now—is not to establish new guidelines and procedures, not to solicit more expert advice, but to restore trust in our bishops.

from catholicculture.org

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