What’s good for the Pope is good for the PB

As reported in The Telegraph,

Figures from the [National Catholic Safeguarding Commission for England and Wales] showed that cases involving 103 victims of alleged abuse were reported in 2010, compared with 52 victims’ cases in 2009. There were 18 people who alleged that they were abused during the course of 2010, the same number as during the previous year.

Baroness Scotland [, chair of the commission,] said the fact that the Pope had met abuse victims during his visit to Britain last year and had spoken strongly about the scandal had encouraged more people to speak out.

It’s good practice: if you take the problem of sex abuse in the church seriously, then you encourage people to speak out.

Our Presiding Bishop knows good practice; she’s been a leader. That’s why we remain flummoxed as to why she has had nothing to say about her role, while Bishop of Nevada, of receiving as a priest a man who had admitted to inappropriate touching. The one case turns out to have been in the public record, so it was in the man’s interest to reveal it. It turns out there were many more earlier instances of inappropriate sexual behavior by the man. Two current civil suits against the Catholic Church allege a psychological test by a Catholic institution showed he was prone to continue the behavior, and the results of this test was made available to the Episcopal Diocese of Nevada.

Just as perplexing, the presiding bishop shifted the task of addressing questions to the current bishop of Nevada. His response was to disparage the questioners, say the man’s record as an Episcopal priest was unblemished, and to allow him to resign his orders without deposing him (for being dishonest during the reception process).

Each one of these actions discourages people, victims and otherwise, from speaking out. It is behavior consistent a church that seeks first to avoid bringing scandal on the church or its bishops. That’s behavior that led the Catholic Church astray, the kind of behavior we had hoped The Episcopal Church had turned its back on.

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