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Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Pope's Pastoral Letter

The pope's Pastoral Letterto the Catholics of Ireland about sex abuse is out. As an apology, I found it kind of disappointing. A few suggestions to him on what might have made it more effective ......

Take responsibility: the pope blamed everyone but himself in his letter - the priests, the bishops (sort of), and, I think unfairly, secularism and Vatican II.

Hold accountable those others on your watch also responsible for the damage: no Irish bishops were sacked and Bernard Francis Law is a sad past example of failing upwardly.

Offer restorative justice: if the pope would have encouraged changes in the statutes of limitations and encouraged cooperation with lawsuits, I'd find it easier to believe he's really sorry.

Make sure the bad stuff doesn't keep happening: the pope's plan to change things for the better seems to be prayer and an Apostolic Visitation for Ireland. Prayer is always good but I don't think it's a reasonable way to eradicate sexual abuse, and perhaps the time is past for effective in-house investigations.


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