The Pope has called for the creation of a commission investigating the sexual abuse of minors. It is good that the Pope is talking about the issue because silence has been what has been driving most of what the Church has done with this tragedy. However, what will a commission do? Will it be filled with either yes men or individuals with no authority? Will it be prevented from getting all available documents? Will there be cannon law vs. common law distinctions made that are used to prevent disclosure?
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP, the leading United States-based support group for clergy abuse victims, called the news a disappointment that reflected badly on the new pope. David Clohessy, executive director of the group, said the announcement suggested that the Vatican remained strongly resistant to making sexually abusive members of the clergy and their church protectors accountable to external criminal prosecution.
“A new church panel is the last thing that kids need,” Mr. Clohessy said in a telephone interview. “Church officials have mountains of information about those who have committed and those who are concealing horrible child sex crimes and cover-ups. They just have to give that information to the police.”
BishopAccountability.org, an organization that has amassed an enormous collection of documents on the abuse problem in the church, gave a cautious welcome to the announcement, but also expressed skepticism.
“It’s good that the Vatican will be giving this terrible problem high-level and focused attention,” Anne Barrett Doyle, the group’s co-director, said in a statement. “But we are concerned that the commission will be toothless and off-target.”
The issue is that they don’t need the commission. What they need to do is to turn over the names of those who are still active in the church who are the perpetrators of these crimes. They need to look at Zero Tolerance and actually practice it. They need to be hailed by the UN for their openness and not questioned about their commitment to truly protect children.
The next year will show what if anything will change.
Will future kids be protected and will those pedophiles who continue to offend be disclosed?
Will survivors of the past be allowed to come into the light and see real justice for what they have suffered?
Will the Church stop fighting Statute of Limitation changes who open the window for those that have suffered?
Will all lists out there be finally disclosed?
Will we finally see an end to the practice of hiding and transfers?
Justice can be achieved. It will be either as a fight or in real action and repentance.
Abuse of children and the continued silence by the offenders needs to be prevented. If you suffered, saw, or suspected such events, it is important to know that there is help out there.
A founding partner with Bradshaw & Bryant, Mike Bryant has always fought to find justice for his clients—knowing that legal troubles, both personal injury and criminal, can be devastating for a family. Voted a Top 40 Personal Injury "Super Lawyer" multiple years, Mr. Bryant has also been voted one of the Top 100 Minnesota "Super Lawyers" four times.