My Response: I appreciate Sister Veronica, challenging the disgraceful response of the hierarchy to the clerical sexual abuse crisis. Hopefully, her dressing-down talk will lead to action for reform by the Vatican. The first step toward dealing with a crisis is admitting how bad the problem is.
The answers are in plain sight and have been recommended over and over again by many Catholics throughout the world. Since bishops are incapable of "policing" each other when it comes to sexual abuses and cover-ups, lay boards should function in dioceses to hold bishops accountable. These new structures should include women in decision making roles. The clerical system needs to be transformed, into a more collaborative, accountable, circular community-centered model. The future of the Church is in the hands of the people of God who love their faith and should be entrusted as decision-makers in every area of ministry.
Kudos to the courageous women who are challenging the Vatican today! They are walking in the footsteps of St. Hildegard of Bingen and St. Catherine of Siena.
Unfortunately, Pope Francis, does not "get it" when he described feminism as "machismo with a skirt."He does not understand human rights include equal rights and equal rites in the Church and world. Until the Roman Catholic Church treats women as beloved images of the divine, and true equals, and adapts collaborative, accountable and transparent structures , it will remain a bastion of male domination and oppression in the world.
Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP, https://arcwp.org
|Sister Veronica Openibo, a Nigerian nun, Reuters|
Sister Veronica Openibo, a Nigerian nun who studied in the United States and has worked in Africa and Europe provided one of the strongest voices at the Vatican’s crisis summit on clerical sex abuse. “We proclaim the Ten Commandments and parade ourselves as being the custodians of moral standards and values and good behavior in society. Hypocrites at times? Yes! Why did we keep silent for so long?” she asked, turning to Pope Francis who sat near her as she spoke. “How could the clerical Church have kept silent, covering these atrocities? The silence, the carrying of the secrets in the hearts of the perpetrators, the length of the abuses and the constant transfers of perpetrators are unimaginable?” Openibo was one of only a handful of women present at the four-day conference, which wraps up Sunday with a mass and remarks by the pope. She, along with other women religious, have been particularly hard on the prelates in attendance, many of whom are accused of doing too little to stop abuse in their diocese. “We must acknowledge that our mediocrity, hypocrisy and complacency have brought us to this disgraceful and scandalous place we find ourselves as a Church. We pause to pray, Lord have mercy on us!” — Barbie Latza Nadeau