Pope faces ongoing pressure over widespread priest abuse

It seems that neither the Pope nore the Catholic Church has the will nor knows the way to properly deal with decades of widespread abuse by priests around the world.

The forgiveness card won’t wash until the Pope and the church fully accept responsibility and make clear changes to address the problem – including properly holding abusive priests to account. This means stopping trying to sweep the scandal under their pompous robes.


It has happened here in New Zealand (both the abuse and the lack of appropriate action).  ODT: Communities respond to abuse: Dunedin opted for ‘prayer and penance’

There are no immediate plans for the Catholic Diocese of Dunedin to follow in Wellington’s footsteps by asking priests to fast to atone for historic sexual abuse by clergy.

It was reported yesterday priests in the Wellington region were spending the day praying and fasting to atone for clerical sexual abuse.

The gesture followed a letter from Pope Francis in August, in which he asked all Catholics to fast and pray in order that their ears might be opened to the “hushed pain felt by children and young people” as a result of clerical abuse,  RNZ  reported.

Monsignor Gerry Burns, the vicar-general of the Wellington Archdiocese, said priests decided to fast as a way of committing to a change of heart and church structures which allowed child abuse to flourish. Dunedin Bishop the Most Rev Michael Dooley said yesterday he “definitely” saw merit in the event, but there were no immediate plans for priests to fast in Dunedin.

Instead, a day of “prayer and penance” was held last week  at St Joseph’s Church in Brockville, he said.

They remain alarmingly out of touch.

A “moderate” number of people attended throughout the day, he said.

Bishop Dooley was also “looking at ways that we can gather in prayer and reflection to address the trauma of sexual abuse”.

The Bishops and the Pope can’t continue to try to hide behind prayer on this.