- Feb 19, 2020
Although the current sexual abuse crisis in the Church is similar to what the Church faced in 2002 when reports of past abuse and cover-up came out of Boston, how Catholics are responding this time is different.
The firestorm surrounding the clergy sex abuse crisis and the way some bishops handled allegations of abuse against priests will be an important part of the agenda of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ fall general assembly.
A committee created by the Catholic Church specifically to prevent sexual misconduct by clergy on Tuesday issued a damning assessment of the failings to stem the abuse, calling it an “evil” caused by “a loss of moral leadership.”
An independent lay-run board that would hold bishops accountable for their actions, a national day for Mass or prayers of reparation, and encouragement to parishioners to become more involved in their diocese are among steps suggested by prominent lay Catholics to right the U.S. Church as it deals with a new clergy sexual abuse scandal.
Cautioning against complacency in carrying out the requirements of the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People,” the chairman of the National Review Board urged the country’s bishops to “never waver” in their commitment to protect minors and vulnerable adults from sexual abuse.
Despite groundbreaking steps the U.S. Catholic Church has taken to prevent the sexual abuse of minors in the past 16 years, a potential “complacency” in following safety protocols could pose a challenge to those hard-won advances.