Friday, March 31, 2006

Abuse Audit Misfires
The 2005 results of the sex abuse audit are out. No doubt other bloggers are commenting today. I'm not even going to bother reading it. Why? It leaves out one category I wish they would monitor: Bishops Who Don't Get It Clergy have physically, emotionally, and sexually abused children for hundreds of years. That's not news. What is a source of embarassment to Catholics is that too many bishops have allowed themselves to be sucked in by addicts, taking the side of liars and manipulative predators rather than the innocent. I don't think Cardinal George should resign. But he could start attending Al-Anon meetings. His handling of his most recent clergy sex predator is right out of the Co-Dependent Handbook. Until the USCCB starts a Twelve Step chapter, I'm going to sadly predict there will continue to be that occasional episcopal misstep. And while those missteps pile up, the bishops remain in a holding pattern as far as their credibility as moral teachers is concerned. The clergy will do well because people in parishes see the holy, faithful, determined, and compassionate face of Holy Orders on a day-to-day basis. In other words, people still mostly love, but sometimes dislike their priests. They do so for the same reasons they loved or disliked priests long before the Law Crisis hit the media. Bishops, on the other hand, are not easily visible to the masses. They have little contact with the majority of Catholics. When bishops do a good job, it often happens with the assistance of employees, clergy, or other underlings. When they screw up, everybody points a finger. Maybe that's not fair, but until bishops start circulating in parishes far, far more often than they do now, their ministry will remain in crisis. Even if they don't realize it.

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