Monday, March 15, 2010

Bishop Accountability

Why had I never heard about this? It seems a very worthy cause:

They claim to be ideologically neutral:

It is a matter of public record that U.S. bishops have knowingly transferred thousands of abusive priests into unsuspecting parishes and dioceses, placing fear of "scandal" ahead of the welfare of children. The bishops themselves have apologized for what they call their "mistake," but they say nothing about the crucial actions that constitute accountability.

For true "bishop accountability" to occur, two things must happen: 1) there must be a full "account" of the bishops' responsibility for the sexual abuse crisis, both individually and collectively, and 2) bishops who have caused the abuse of children and vulnerable adults must be "held accountable."

1) How will a full account be given? The "account" of the bishops' responsibility for the crisis has so far come through the witness of survivors, through documents unearthed by law enforcement and the legal system, through depositions taken by lawyers, and through media reports. is dedicated to consolidating and preserving that record.

The "account" has not come from the bishops. Indeed, during this 60-year crisis they have made every effort to conceal the truth from parishioners, from victims with whom they negotiated settlements, and sometimes even from each other. In their new era of embarrassed transparency, many of them are fighting the publication of accused priests' names, and even the production of legally subpoenaed files. In our view, all diocesan and conference files relating to the crisis should be made public, so that a full accounting may begin. Every day that the bishops delay, their "moral authority" weakens further, and the damage that they have done to the Catholic church increases.

"Studies" by their own hand-picked boards, working with whatever data the bishops themselves choose to relinquish, is not a full accounting.

2) Who will hold the bishops accountable? Bishops serve at the Pope's pleasure, and he will accept the resignation of any bishop who is credibly and publicly accused of abuse (Weakland of Milwaukee WI and O'Connell of Palm Beach FL), who is indicted or arrested (O'Brien of Phoenix AZ), or who is a liability because his people and especially his priests no longer want him (Law of Boston MA).

It is our hope that the information we are collecting at will help expose bishops who have abused children or vulnerable adults, or have aided abusers. We hope we can encourage an informed public to demand indictments of bishops where appropriate. And failing these legal remedies, we hope that our Web site will embolden priests and laity to beg the removal of culpable bishops by the Pope. aims to facilitate the accountability of the U.S. bishops under civil, criminal, and canon law. We document the debates about root causes and remedies, because important information has surfaced during those debates. We take no position on the root causes, and we do not advocate particular remedies. If the facts are fully known, the causes and remedies will become clear.
And yet (and I just searched to make sure) this site has never been recommended (except by people in the comment sections) by many major conservative or traditional Catholic bloggers, including Fr Z and Jimmy Akin...who prefer to spend their time doing damage control, trying to defend the bishops and make them out to the be the "victims."

Please, pass this resource along to everyone. People need to know. People have a right to know.


sortacatholic said...

What I am reading in the trad-o-sphere is beginning to frighten me. Fr. Z is blaming the NYT and other big presses for smearing the Pope without speaking a word about solutions. Jimmy Akin is attempting to absolve Pope Benedict of any involvement in the recidivist case in Munich, again without any suggestions on how to move forward. Pope Benedict probably did not know that he was passing the buck on a dangerous criminal. However, the Pope was the Cdl. Abp. of Munich when this all first went down. Trad whining about perceived insults to the Pope isn't going to help a dire situation. We just have to accept that Cdl. Ratzinger was in charge when this happened, whatever that means.

It's time for a Council. Right now.
All the bishops in St. Pete's for a major overhaul of the rotten hierarchy, the seminaries, and canon law. If I were a priest I would say the Votive Mass of the Holy Spirit when I could (though this is Lent, few ferial days). All we can ask for is a new Pentecost.

A Sinner said...

The problem with a Council is that the bishops run it.

And NEVER again at the Vatican. Let's have another one in Lyons. Or one in Moscow!

Anyway, I'd really appreciate it if you'd email me, sortacatholic. We seem to be on the same page.

Anonymous said...

The problem with many Catholics who consider themselves "traditional" is that they have conflicted loyalties stemming from an erroneous understanding of Papal Infallibility. They become, in effect "Papolatrists", i.e. they think that the Pope can never say or do anything wrong. This sentiment will often be extended to their favourite bishops.

Therefore, since they operate from the assumption that the Pope and their favourite bishops cannot say or do anything wrong, there must be "some other" explanation to a given scandalous situation.

But that the bishops run a council is not a problem: it is what they should do. However, a council's agenda can and should be formed by the Pope and whomever he chooses for that purpose.

What I would recommend is the full and immediate legitimisation of all four FSSPX bishops as well as their incardination. Furthermore, I recommend that Bp. Williamson be placed at the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and that the CDF be re-designated the Holy Office or, better yet, the Holy Inquisition. Suppress the Jesuits and give their mission to the FSSPX under Bp. Fellay; and find any and all "closet traditionalists" who might be left in the ordinary hierachy and place them under Bp. Fellay's command.

Then hold a council. In Écône.

Yes, this would make a lot of Liberals and their strap-hangers very unhappy. Good. The unhappier the enemies of Christ are, the better.


Mark of the Vineyard said...

A Sinner, their does seem to be something "expectant" in the air. I've had that feeling for a while now about the secular world, that we are on the verge of something different, of a "bave new world" if you will, but I know also get that impression from the institutional Church as well.

A Sinner said...


I agree about the Papolatry thing, though I think that is more endemic to Neocons than to trads (who are more ambivalent about the popes since V-II, generally).

The rest of what you

I'd be all for a Council except I just don't see it bringing about any serious reform exactly because we can't expect these men to reform themselves. Based on the rhetoric I hear right now, any Council called would reaffirm mandatory celibacy, reaffirm the Novus Ordo, etc

If the Pope thinks acting on those issues unilaterally would be difficult, he could use a Council as sort of a rubber-stamp to lend legitimacy, but I don't think there is going to be a Council until either after reunion with the Orthodox, or at least not until reunion is imminent.

I agree that we'll see what happens with the SSPX discussions (has anyone heard anything recently? Are they still progressing?) But Williamson is a loose cannon and someone else sounds like one too...

A Sinner said...

"A Sinner, their does seem to be something "expectant" in the air."

As I may write about later tonight (if all goes well)...sometimes people only need the tiniest of nudges. Sometimes things just need a spark or catalyst.

I may email you privately, but we need not be merely passive to change, there are things that could be done with a few dedicated people.

Pater, O.S.B. said...

We need a "good bad pope" as you've said before. Someone who'll open a major can of woop a** on the Church.