In France, Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, the archbishop of Lyon, is to go on trial next year on criminal charges of covering up sexual abuse. The former archbishop of Washington and longtime church power broker is accused of sexually abusing adults and minors. The Holy See also wants to underscore the need to comply with the civil law, including mandatory child abuse reporting requirements. In Australia, top church figures are facing detention and trials. And the church has always been reluctant to give in to political pressure to remove them. The church has had more than three decades — since notable abuse cases first became public — to safeguard victims, and itself, against such system failures. And, in the past five years, many Catholics have looked to Francis as a figure who could modernize the church and help it regain its credibility. But someone from the Vatican should say something.
Whereas transparency is typically advised, the church remains quiet about its investigations and disciplinary procedures. And in the United States, after the resignation of a cardinal, questions are swirling about a hierarchy that looked the other way and protected him for years. The church must learn hard lessons from its past, and there should be accountability for both abusers and those who permitted abuse to occur. Four former members of the commission, as well as outside analysts, say the idea was thwarted by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. And, rather than being fired and publicly admonished, offending church leaders are typically allowed to resign without explanation. A separate movement fighting abuse and harassment in the workplace has helped spread awareness about victims while diminishing skepticism about their stories. Current and former members of the commission said that they are not given data and information on abuse-related cases being handled by the Vatican. At the same time, law enforcement agencies have been pursuing abuse cases in countries that once treated the church with deference. In Chile, prosecutors have raided church offices, seized documents and accused leaders of a coverup. Some outside analysts say the objection could have been on legal or logistical grounds. Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati, the archbishop of Santiago, has also been summoned to testify in court about the alleged concealment of years of abuse. The church has had more than three decades — since notable abuse cases first became public — to safeguard victims, and itself, against such system failures. During a January trip to South America, he drew widespread criticism by saying he was convinced of the innocence of Bishop Juan Barros , accused of covering up the acts of a notorious abuser. Francis was later forced to apologise and launch an investigation which resulted in the resignation of five bishops. The pope was personally damaged by his denunciation in January of abuse survivors in Chile who drew his attention to cover-ups by senior figures in the church. Two dioceses in New Jersey secretly reached financial settlements in and with men who said they were abused by McCarrick decades ago, according to a New York Times report. But the pope has also had notable missteps. The Pennsylvania report is the culmination of two years of investigation and a serious blow to the church, but it looks like the blows will keep coming. He faces a church trial in which he could be defrocked entirely. Cruz said he tried to tell the pope bluntly that a deeper shake-up was still needed. Those who have suffered are his priority, and the church wants to listen to them to root out this tragic horror that destroys the lives of the innocent. Later this month, Francis will make a hour visit to Ireland , a country that has been rocked by revelations of child sexual abuse by priests and its covering up by the church. In Australia in May, Philip Wilson, the archbishop of Adelaide, became the most senior Catholic cleric convicted of concealing child abuse after he failed to report the abuse of two altar boys by a priest in the s. The bishops offered to step down en masse. There have been competing calls within the American church on strengthening oversight of the hierarchy. The Vatican statement came after liberal and conservative Catholics pressed for a papal response to the Pennsylvania grand jury report.
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