Published on March 18, 2013
We hope Dublin’s Archbishop Diarmuid Martin had some good St. Patrick Day’s inside tracking information stronger than wishful thinking and style changes to back up his Sunday declaration that Pope Francis will “clearly address” the issue of sexual abuse.
Cardinal Bernard Law’s presence at St. Mary Major Basilica during Pope Francis’s first public outing after the conclave is troubling to say the least.
It’s hard to imagine that Law’s baggage wasn’t known to the Argentinian who is now Pope. A Pope, it appears in these early days, for whom style may be a conveyance of substance.
Law’s presence in the Basilica and the new pontiff’s greeting of him was an insult of hippopotamus proportions particularly for one conscious of what appearance can convey.
This slap to survivors should have outweighed any perceived or real slight to an “emeritus” archpriest of the basilica.
Not to mention that Law should have had enough sense to step aside and stay away knowing the message that his presence would send.
The first days are muddled as well by South African Cardinal Wilfred Napier’s insistence that pedophilia is not a “criminal condition” but a psychological illness.
In doing this Napier is arguing strongly against punishment for pedophiles.
This path leads to the same old hiding spot, the refusal to see where the responsibility is — with the adult not the child.
Tomorrow, Pope Francis – who is just as much Pope today as he will be tomorrow – will be in St. Peter’s Square and “installed” or “inaugurated” or whatever beginning word you’d like to tag on the proceedings. Then, all that’s left is the hard work.
NSAC believes that the hard work includes the removal of Bishop Robert Finn as head of the Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph along with the removal of any and all Cardinals, Archbishops and Bishops who are complicit in the cover-up of predators, as well as the clear, distinct direction to the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith that the backlog of hundreds upon hundreds of cases of credibly accused priests be cleared with all deliberative speed, and the new Secretary of State be a man of strong spine who does not believe that criminals should be protected no matter what country they live in, work in or were transferred to in order to escape their crimes.
After that Pope Francis should release all documents related to the crisis.
Then he should set about finding the survivors, all of them , with a sound, real dedication and a clarion call to Catholics to search for, seek out and find the survivors – because it is only through the courage of the survivors and the documents that the truth is and will be known.
Hand in hand with searching for the survivors must be the wide spread publication by all available means through dioceses and parishes of the knowledge of predator priests and nuns, including where they have been and where they are now.
It will be painful but to repair and rebuild the Church it must be done.
— Kristine Ward, Chair, National Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC) KristineWard@hotmail.com