Saturday, April 3, 2010

Admitting Wrongdoing

The Catholic Church is in a world of hurt these days because of the continuing accusations of wrongdoing by members of its clergy. Every week seems to bring new allegations of child abuse on the part of Catholic priests and charges of official cover-up by the church hierarchy. Even the Pope has come under scrutiny for actions he took or failed to take prior to his elevation to the Holy See.

Most recently the Pope’s own pastor claimed the church was the victim of misuse by the media and compared the lot of Catholic leaders to that of the Jews as they were persecuted during much of history. Jewish leaders have predictably responded with a great deal of anger.

From my perspective, there is no need to bash the Catholic Church. Institutions tend to automatically protect themselves from outside scrutiny when accusations are levied against them. What the church is doing is quite normal even if not defensible.

What is needed is for the Catholic hierarchy to come clean on this issue and admit their wrongdoing. They need to get up front about what really did happen in their own ranks, make restitution to the victims of clerical abuse, and take steps to make sure it does not happen again. Anything less is detrimental to the church and to the society which it intends to serve. Unfortunately the Pope has failed to lead the way on this matter and has only himself to blame for the continuing accusations and bad press the church receives. Faithful Catholics deserve better from their leaders.

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