The Catholic Crisis So Far


Convivium, 6 September 2018

Convivium’s Editor in Chief Father Raymond J. de Souza provides a compendium of columns to help readers understand the newest iteration of the sexual abuse scandals rocking Rome.

The lazy, hazy days of August have been anything but on the Catholic news beat. The issue of priestly sexual abuse has returned with the intensity of a late summer forest fire. That’s not haze from the bright sun shimmering on a hot day, but rather the smoke from the burning fury that so many feel that it is happening again.

It’s true that major reforms were made in Canada by the Catholic Church in the early 1990s, and in the United States in 2002, and that in many ways today the Catholic Church is a model of what to do in confronting the sexual abuse of minors. But the Catholic Church was for a long time a model of what not to do as, for example, was shown by the Pennsylvania grand jury report that looked at cases going back to 1947. Over 90 per cent of those cases took place before the major American reforms were made. 

Still. Whether historic or current, the sin is real and the pain is real. Other parts of the world seemed not to have learned the lessons from that first major experience at Mount Cashel in Newfoundland 30 years ago – and in other places since, including Ireland and Australia. The news from Chile and Honduras demonstrates this.

And then the incendiary accusations made by the former papal ambassador to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, accusing Pope Francis of complicity in the case of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. It’s all rather overwhelming, so I thought I might this week include a roundup of what I have written, some of it here at Convivium, but also pieces elsewhere. 

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