November 2, 2018
The church in the United States faces a crisis of both trust and hope. As the bishops gather for their first national meeting since this summer’s revelations of sexual abuse in the church, it is clear that while they must make reforms, they cannot succeed alone. Nonetheless, there is hope to be found on this slow and difficult path.
One reason for hope is that the zero-tolerance policies put in place by the Dallas Charter following the 2002 scandals have, in fact, worked; today, new allegations of misconduct are dealt with swiftly and through the proper legal channels. Yet the church is still haunted by the history of decades of failures.
In the wake of revelations of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick’s history of abuse and harassment and the Pennsylvania grand jury report detailing predation by more than 300 priests over 50 years, Catholics are left asking: Why should I stay? Who can I believe? How can I raise a child in this church?
The bishops can use their annual fall gathering to establish a baseline for credible reform.