Catholic Church must allow female and married priests
In response to the horrific report of over 1,000 children abused by more than 300 priests, the Catholic Church needs to accept women priests and married priests as the solution to a corrupt, unaccountable clerical model in which denial, cover-up and payoffs have been the standard procedures for decades.
While Pope Francis names clericalism as a cause of the sexual-abuse crisis, he fails to take steps to dismantle it by creating a new model of priestly ministry that includes women priests.
His apology, while heartfelt, puts a Band-Aid on a deadly wound that threatens the life of the church. He should fire all the U.S. bishops who covered up abuse, as a first step toward an act of real penance.
While no amount of penance will heal the broken lives that have been destroyed by the cover-up of bishops, it is time for serious reform of structures that have protected the bishops and the Vatican from accountability.
Catholic men and women — mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers, aunts and uncles, sisters and brothers — are ready to lead the way toward healing in a community of equals full of compassion and justice-seeking for all the survivors.
What we need now is the Catholic community to rise up and demand a new structure that places women and men in decision-making roles in all dioceses and in the Vatican.
To save the Church, we need a renewed model of priestly ministry with women priests and married priests now!
Bridget Mary Meehan, Sarasota
Baptism of Seth at Mary Mother of Jesus inclusive Catholic Community in Sarasota