I am certainly no expert on the Catholic Church. I’m neither a member or particularly religious. I’ve only been to mass one time. But I do know that for the new Pope to be successful he has to own up to the worldwide pedophile scandal that has devastated Church, punish the Priests who sexually abused young parishioners, and the Bishops who covered their crimes. To do less is to extend years if not decades if not centuries of denial and obfuscation by his predecessors.
As the 21st Century turned, whispers of Church abuse became a deafening roar in the United States as victims came forward with harrowing accounts of serial sexual abuse. Church leaders in other regions pointed fingers and denied that similar crimes were occurring in their congregations. Those denials were soon shattered when the sex scandal exploded around the world. Powerful factions within the Church dismissed the allegations and said that media coverage was excessive and disproportionate, that more abuse occurred in the home than in the Church, and that sexual abuse occurs in all denominations. What they failed to do was take responsibility for their own transgressions: which were legion.
Last week the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), a non-profit organization support group of survivors of clergy sexual abuse and their supporters in the United States, released a “Dirty Dozen” list of Cardinals who participated in the Papal selection conclave. The dirty dozen include twelve Papal candidates who SNAP believes would be the worst choice for children. Among the group were American Cardinals Timothy Dolan from New York, Sean O’Malley of Boston and Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C. Cardinal Dolan’s spokesperson said, “I’m not going to respond to this group which has little to no credibility.” Currently, SNAP has more than 10,000 members in 60-chapters.
Because they have a history of turning their backs when Priests have sex with young children the Catholic Church has no credibility. Unless Pope Francis 1 acknowledges that fact, nothing will change. It is the new Pope’s responsibility to punish pervert priests and those who covered the most widespread, institutional sex abuse scandal in the history of the world, the Catholic Church. If he fulfills his duty to humanity the Catholic Church might regain their dignity and credibility after all.