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
Pope Francis describes feminism as ‘machismo with a skirt’
German cardinal tells Vatican meeting files on clerical child abuse destroyed by bishops
"Pope Francis has described feminism as “machismo with a skirt” during a brief intervention at the four-day meeting on the protection of minors in the church which is taking place at the Vatican.
Meanwhile, one of the church’s leading cardinals has admitted that files on clerical child abuse have been destroyed by bishops.
Pope Francis made his comment about feminism in an off-the-cuff remark after hearing an address from a woman at the meeting.
“Inviting a woman to speak is not to enter into the mode of an ecclesiastical feminism, because in the end every feminism ends up being a machismo with a skirt. No. Inviting a woman to speak about the wounds of the church is to invite the church to speak about herself, about the wounds she has,” he said.
He was speaking following an address by Dr Linda Ghisoni, undersecretary for the Laity at the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Laity, Family, and Life and one of three women among 12 speakers scheduled to give addresses to the 190 Catholic church leaders in attendance at the meeting.
The church leaders include 10 other women. Ireland is being represented at the meeting by the president of the Irish Episcopal Conference, Archbishop Eamon Martin.
In her address, Dr Ghisoni recalled how “a priest, a few days ago, exclaimed ‘Still? We continue talking about abuse! The church’s attention to this theme is exaggerated’.”
She continued how “even a practicing lady told me candidly: ‘It is better not to talk about these matters, otherwise there will be distrust of the church. Talking about it obscures all the good done in the parishes’.”
Referring to priests who sexually abuse children as “howling wolves that penetrate the fold to scare further and disperse the flock” she said that “becoming aware of the phenomenon and (to) understand one’s responsibility is not a fixation”.
In his address to the meeting on Saturday, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Archbishop of Munich and Freising, President of the German Bishops’ Conference and a member of the Council of Cardinals which advises Pope Francis, said clerical child sex abuse files have been destroyed in some dioceses.
“Files that could have documented the terrible deeds and named those responsible were destroyed, or not even created. Instead of the perpetrators, the victims were regulated and silence imposed on them.”
He said the “rights of victims were effectively trampled underfoot, and left to the whims of individuals”.
“These are all events that sharply contradict what the church should stand for,” he said.
At a press conference in the Vatican this afternoon he was talking about the German Catholic Church and that this destruction of documents had been established in a 2014 study conducted there. He said he assumed “Germany is not an isolated case”.
In his address to the meeting, he said “establishing transparent procedural norms and rules for ecclesiastical processes is essential. Institutional mistrust leads to conspiracy theories regarding an organisation, and the formation of myths about an organisation. This can be avoided if the facts are set out transparently.”
‘Mediocrity and hypocrisy’
In another address on Saturday, Sr Veronica Openibo, a Nigerian who has worked in Africa, Europe and the United States, berated the bishops for mistakes in handling the sexual abuse crisis, saying the church had to acknowledge its “mediocrity, hypocrisy and complacency”.
“We proclaim the Ten Commandments and parade ourselves as being the custodians of moral standards and values and good behaviour in society. Hypocrites at times? Yes! Why did we keep silent for so long?” she said.
She told Pope Francis, sitting near her on the dais, that she admired him because he was “humble enough to change your mind”, apologise and take action after he initially defended a Chilean bishop accused of covering up abuse. The bishop later resigned.
“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,” she said.
‘Crisis and shame’
She spoke of her shock when she watched the 2015 Oscar-winning film Spotlight, which uncovered how church leaders in Boston moved predator priests from parish to parish instead of defrocking them or turning them over to civil authorities.
“At the present time, we are in a state of crisis and shame. We have seriously clouded the grace of the Christ-mission,” Sr Openibo said.
“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!” she said.
She said church leaders must shed their habit of hiding events for fear of making a mistake.
“Too often we want to keep silent until the storm has passed. This storm will not pass by. Our credibility is at stake,” she said.
Leading cardinals told the four-day conference on Friday that the church must repair the “systematic failures” that enabled sexual abuse to take root around the world, and bishops should start policing each other’s behaviour.
At the start of the conference on Thursday, five victims told painful stories of abuse and cover-up and the pope said they could expect concrete measures to come out of the meeting.
Victims groups have complained that while some priests who sexually abused children were eventually disciplined by the church and sentenced by civil authorities, the bishops who either enabled the abuse or covered it up have not been punished."
Roman Catholic Women Priests Chart New Path in Response to Sexual Abuse Crisis and Ordination - Press Release in Response to Pope Francis Meeting in Rome, Feb. 21-24, 2019
Roman Catholic Women Priests Chart New Path in Response to Sexual Abuse Crisis and Ordination
JANICE SEVRE DUSZYNSKA ARCWP
MARTHA SHERMAN RCWP-USA
POPE FRANCIS HAS SCHEDULED A MEETING TO ADDRESS THE WORLDWIDE HORRIFIC SEXUAL ABUSE CRISIS IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH ON FEB. 21-24. (SEE LINK TO RCWP/ARCWP LETTER TO COMMISSION).
In addition, Pope Francis is considering reinstating women deacons, but not women priests.
While women deacons could be a possible first step to women priests, both are needed in a renewed priestly ministry. In an open letter published on Feb. 3rd, nine Prominent German priests and theologians call for the ordination of women priests
History and tradition support women in ordained ministries. Roman Catholic theologians like Dorothy Irvin affirm that women priests and bishops served in the early Church. In 820 A.D., there was a Bishop Theodora whose icon with her title can still be seen in the Church of St. Praxedis in Rome.
The abuse of minors, nuns, and women and the failure to include women in all the church’s ministries is an example of an abuse of patriarchal power. It is a justice and human rights violation. Let’s be clear, business as usual in covering-up of clerical and sexual abuse by the Roman Catholic clergy will no longer be tolerated by anyone.
The Church cannot move forward without the leadership of women. Women deacons, priests and bishops are ministering to survivors of clergy abuse now. While the Vatican has yet to open a dialogue with us, justice like a river is flowing in inclusive Catholic communities in 35 states. Since 2002, our international RCWP movement has grown from the Danube 7 to approximately 265.
In summary, women priests in a renewed priestly ministry are a solution in plain sight which many Catholics already support.