Wednesday, November 21, 2018
"Ordinary Catholics Can Help Put An End to Sexual Abuse "by Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP, Sarasota Herald Tribune, Nov. 21, 2018
In response to your article “Bishops delay votes in combating church sex abuse crisis”: This top-down delay tactic of the Vatican has prevailed since 2002, when the sexual abuse scandal came to light in the United States, and the culture of coverup has continued to today.
The current clerical model of a hierarchy from the Vatican to the diocesan bishop is a major part of the problem.
According to Vatican II teaching, the Catholic Church is defined as the entire people of God, not the hierarchy alone. So ordinary Catholics have a role and a responsibility to heal and transform our church.
An adage applies: Foxes should not be allowed to guard the hen house. Catholics who love our beautiful faith tradition have power. They can demand change.
Four possible approaches: 1) Boycott the collection plate and designate a charity to help abused children; 2) support Catholic renewal organizations that work for positive change in a more inclusive, accountable church on the local and national level; 3) affirm attorney-general-led investigations, similar to the Pittsburgh probe of sexual abuse; 4) support diocesan accountability teams with decision-making power to remove bishops who cover up clergy sexual misconduct.
As co-responsible baptized members of our faith, Catholics can help put an end to the horrific sexual abuse and coverup by bishops and the Vatican throughout the world. Our children and the health of our church are worth our best efforts to act now.
Bridget Mary Meehan, Sarasota