Unfortunately, there are still bishops and religious superiors who believe it is best for them to keep silent about abuse
A staged image shows a child lying on the floor. (Photo supplied)
On the morning of September 10, 2023, the following news appeared on the website of the Swiss Bishops’ Conference: “Canonical Investigations into Suspected Concealment of Sexual Abuse by Members of the Swiss Bishops’ Conference.”
This news was a prelude to the publication, two days later, of the Report on the Pilot Project for the History of Sexual Abuse in the Context of the Roman Catholic Church in Switzerland since the Mid-20th Century.
What consequences will result from these investigations and when these investigations will be continued cannot yet be predicted.
The problem of the credibility of the Church
Such a situation, with so much of the background and details still unknown, is all too familiar to those who deal with the issue of abuse and its cover-up in the Catholic Church.
It is almost predictable that much remains obscure; that because of the complexity of the issue, multiple responsibilities and historical processes, it is often not even clear where the original responsibility lies and who could and should bring light to this situation.
In this regard, the Report on the Pilot Project and the news preview reflect what has happened many times on similar occasions in the past. Great agitation, growing nervousness and vague statements create the following picture: within the Catholic Church there is not only a substantial number of abuse victims and perpetrators.
At best, the Church, hopelessly overwhelmed by the situation, fails to offer clarification, to deal with or publicly address the issues; at worst, a reluctant or even a downright destructive and defensive approach emerges.
From a rational point of view this is difficult to explain, because this sad spectacle has occurred repeatedly in recent decades, with serious consequences, foremost among them a massive loss of credibility.
One would think that it should not be too difficult to learn from past mistakes. But, as the Report on the Pilot Project shows, mechanisms for self-monitoring, learning from experience and improving procedures are not developed, or are so only in a very limited way.
Unfortunately, there are still bishops and religious superiors who believe it is best for them to keep silent about abuse, to prevent scandal damaging their image and that of the Church as a whole.
They still act as if what has happened in other local Churches does not apply to them, thus setting the stage for immense damage.
There is still a lack of understanding that, with a view to the future, it would be much better – and more honest – to admit that serious mistakes have been made and crimes covered up in the Church and, in view of this, to honestly ask for forgiveness.
Read the complete article here.
This article is brought to you by UCA News in association with "La Civiltà Cattolica."
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