A Thin Tissue

by Kristine Ward, September 28, 2015

So far, it is a thin tissue that Pope Francis and the Roman Catholic Church have handed to God as a comfort to weeping over the sexual abuse victims.

Pope Francis said on Sunday morning in his unscripted remarks to bishops and seminarians at the Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia following his meeting with five victims of sexual abuse that “God weeps” because of the sexual abuse.

Even to get the tissue, the Church had to be driven to the store by massive media reporting, grand jury investigations by civil authorities and lawsuits brought by survivors.

UFO sightings are more credible than the papal holding to account bishops, cardinals, chancellery and curia officials for the cover-up of the crisis.

At least the people who report UFO sightings see something. The Vatican tribunal that is heralded as the vehicle to hold bishops accountable does not exist except in words. It will take five years to set up this tribunal.

Given all of the urgings to go to the margins, be with the poor, protect the vulnerable, give hope to all that Pope Francis asked for this week, the bishops are the only group over whom he has direct control for appointing and sustaining in office.

Every bishop in the room at St. Borromeo Seminary – and any bishop who reads and hears Pope Francis’ words – knows that he has at minimum five years more of protection from accountability.

There have now been seven papal meetings with survivors and we are three popes from  the incarnation of the crisis post-Boston and we have come again only to a promise of accountability. An accountability that is always just a bit further down the road but never happens.

Will any of the 866,000 thousand persons at the closing Mass in Philadelphia, the 20,000 at the Madison Square Garden Mass, the 2,500 at the Vesper Service in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York or the 195 bishops with jurisdiction in United States dioceses’ throw open their parish doors next Sunday and all of next week, next month, next year to insist that the survivors be sought out, welcomed, heard and supported.

Will there be apologies for having shunned the survivors, rebuffed them on the steps of the parishes as they leafletted to protect children and educate parishioners, and for proclaiming that they were money grubbers, and that everything they speak of is history?

Will there be listening to the survivors’ stories and demand for the removal of bishops who aid and abet those who rape and sodomize children, and demand for the dropping of the bishops’ opposition to reform of statutes of limitation, and demand for a complete accounting by name and past and current location of all known pedophile priests and religious sisters and religious brothers?

If that happened, maybe God could count on getting a 2-ply tissue.

—– Kristine Ward, Chair, National Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC) KristineWard@hotmail.com 937-272-0308

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2 thoughts on “A Thin Tissue

  1. skiadvocat

    Michael Skiendzielewski · Saint Joseph’s University

    Bishop Fitzgerald, CIVIL ATTORNEY, first director of the Office of
    Legal Services at the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in 1990 under Cardinal Bevilacqua, told this writer after the release of the first Grand Jury Report in clergy sexual abuse that his office never received, processed,or handled the allegations of sexual abuse that were filed with the archdiocese.

    Now, he is the head of the Office of the Protection of Minors in the
    Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Wonder, after 25 years, if he is still NOT
    receiving allegations of clergysexual abuse of children.

    As an attorney, he has the professional responsibility and ethical mandate to act in the best interests of his client, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

    Is Bishop Fitzgerald acting in the best interests of children or acting in the best interests of his boss, Charles Chaput?

    Reply
    1. maryheins

      Thank you, Michael. What are the implications for today? If the guy in the position head of Legal Council isn’t processing allegations, who is?

      Reply

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