Back in February the Pope – who, like Cher and Beyoncé, needs no last name – hosted an event which the media called the “sex abuse summit,” and the church called “The Protection of Minors in the Church.”
Catholic bishops in the U.S. had been planning their own shindig at an earlier date, but the Pope said, “No, no! Wait and come to my boys’ club party! It’ll be a lot more fun! And you’ll go home saying, ‘That was even more fun than the Inquisition!’”
So the U.S. bishops waited and then joined other bishops in Rome, more than 100 all told.
After three days everyone went home, promising to “pray and meditate” on the matter of Catholic priests and hierarchy either engaging in the sexual abuse of minors and adults, or covering up for the clergy who did so.
Nothing else happened.
Until this announcement in early May:
The Pope’s mandate was sent in a letter called a “Motu Proprio.” Apparently that’s Latin for “Own Motion,” but I think that first word sounds like it would work really well in that old song, “The Name Game”:
Motu, motu, bo-botu,
Bo-nana-fana fo fatu,
Fee fi fo, fotu.
And if that sounds ridiculous, it’s in keeping with the high point of the Pope’s letter:
No reporting of clergy sexual abuse to local authorities is required.
There’s all sorts of whoop-de-doo about requiring all priests and nuns to report clergy sexual abuse and cover-ups by their superiors to church authorities…
And requiring whistleblower protection for anyone making a report…
And requiring all dioceses to have a system in place by June 1, 2020 to receive the claims confidentially…
But no requiring the crimes to be reported to the police.
And who are those “church authorities” the priests and nuns are supposed to report to? They’re guys like…
Plenty of them are the same bishops and cardinals who for decades:
- Covered up for clergy sexual abuse of minors and adults, and/or
- Committed sexual abuse of minors and adults.
And while assorted church lawyers and church hierarchy sang the Pope’s praises, I thought Anne Barrett Doyle of Bishop-Accountability.org put it best:
“Bishops watching bishops does not work.”
In the meantime, the church had devised another way to cover its nates (Latin for “buttocks”).
I’ll be talking about that next time, in Part II.