It’s a mighty rare occasion when in this space we take up for a bishop.
But we think that about 5,000 of them got quite an unfair swipe during Pope Francis’ airborne press conference on his way back from the Holy Land.
We are not shedding many tears about that but we do ask: Why aren’t the about 5,000 bishops in the world who aren’t under investigation asking who is at the top of their now under suspicion lungs?
Why should people have to guess about it?
Why is a cloudy picture left of whether these bishops abused or aided and abetted abusers – and/or or both?
How can Catholics or any men and women of goodwill in the world buy this as progress in the resolving of the sexual abuse crisis?
If any President, Speaker of the House, President Pro Tem of the Senate and/or Chief Justice of the United States or any Associate Justice dropped into a press conference that three members of the United States Congress, three United States Ambassadors, three Justices of the Supreme Court, three members of the White House senior staff were under investigation for crimes, didn’t name them but said one of them was found guilty but the decider of punishment did know what it should be — who would stand for this? Let alone think the sayer was swell?
And why doesn’t a Pope know how to punish a bishop who has been, in Francis’ words, “found guilty?”
Bishops and cardinals are created and sustained in their positions because a Pope created and sustains them.
If a bishop or a cardinal is found guilty of a crime a Pope needs to remove them from office.
Why is this hard?
We know, as do our readers, Pope Francis’ comments on the sexual abuse crisis included his announcement that he would meet with survivors.
To that, we heartily suggest that Cardinal Sean O’Malley, who is organizing this meeting, listen to what Bernie McDaid a survivor who was part of a Pope Benedict/survivors “meeting” has to say about that meeting . To quote McDaid, it was “weird.”
At the end of this curious and curious-er press conference in the air, we can’t possibly fathom what Pope Francis could mean when we speaks about “zero tolerance.”
For a man who doesn’t know how to punish a guilty bishop what could zero really mean?
— Kristine Ward, Chair, National Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC) KristineWard@hotmail.com