For some time, many members of Catholic Church may have believed that the worst of the clerical abuse crisis was in the past. This certainly has been the Church’s intent, at least in word. But now the spotlight has returned, with the grand jury report from six Pennsylvania dioceses, which found from 70 years of documents that over 300 priests abused more than 1,000 victims — in addition to scandals involving the former Cardinal Archbishop of Washington, D.C., in the U.K., Australia, Peru and Chile, and on the verge of papal visit to Ireland, which suffered some of the worst of the worldwide priestly abuse. The head of the United Sates’ bishops conference has appealed to the Vatican for external assistance in conducting a blanket investigation into the continued blight of the clerical abuse crisis across the U.S.
“We already know that one root cause is the failure of episcopal leadership,” Cardinal Daniel DiNardo stated. “The result was that scores of beloved children of God were abandoned to face an abuse of power alone. This is a moral catastrophe.” While DiNardo is right about the catastrophe, his solution does not go far enough.
Pope Francis set out to make tackling he abuse crisis one of his foremost priorities upon election in 2013, significantly breaking with his two immediate predecessors. Having previously advocated a policy of zero-tolerance to clerical abuse as archbishop in Buenos Aries, he continued with the same resolve as the Bishop of Rome and Supreme Pontiff across the world’s Catholics.