Catholics Raise Doubts about Vatican Moves ; Some US Groups Want Stronger Zero-Tolerance Policy and More Accountability

By Jane Lampman writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, April 26, 2002 | Go to article overview

Catholics Raise Doubts about Vatican Moves ; Some US Groups Want Stronger Zero-Tolerance Policy and More Accountability


Jane Lampman writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


After two extraordinary days of high-profile attention on Vatican City and the scandal shaking the Roman Catholic Church, US prelates now turn to the task of firming up a national set of standards on clergy sexual abuse that will convince American Catholics their concerns are being addressed.

The cardinals issued proposals at the close of the Rome meeting with the pope that aim to make it easier to remove priests who abuse minors. But they failed to agree on specifics raised during their sessions, such as a zero-tolerance policy for removing abusers or a national panel of lay advisers who would monitor church performance.

And despite remarkably frank interviews over the two days that seemed to show the cardinals' sensitivity to Catholics' concerns, the final communique included no mention of greater lay involvement or any measures of accountability for the hierarchy. They also issued a special letter to priests, but there was no apology to victims of abuse.

A special committee of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops will be responsible for turning the proposals into specific standards that all US bishops can approve at a June meeting in Dallas.

"It was a high-stakes meeting - their backs were to the wall," says Chester Gillis, chairman of the theology department at Georgetown University in Washington. "The US cardinals and Rome were under a microscope to respond adequately and firmly."

No strong national policy

While the summit gave convincing evidence the church was focusing on the problem of protecting children, it fell far short of a uniform policy with the pope's imprimatur. "The document is a skeletal outline. There is much, much more work to be done," admitted Bishop Wilton Gregory, president of the US Conference of Catholics Bishops.

The cardinals said they will propose a special process to speed dismissal of a priest "who has become notorious and is guilty of the serial, predatory, sexual abuse of minors," and another process for those priests who are not "notorious" but still may pose a further threat.

The idea that some priests involved in abuse might still be returned to active religious life is distressing to many victims and their supporters.

"We weren't terribly optimistic to start with, but we're disappointed," says David Clohessy, director of the Survivors Network for Those Abused by Priests. "Yesterday the pope said there is no place in ministry for an abuser, but today the cardinals seemed to be saying, well, maybe sometimes, some cases. This backtracking so quickly is disturbing."

The cardinals also seem to make a distinction between pedophiles and those who abuse older minors. Some involved in treatment strongly disagree. "That specific distinction is deplorable," says Peter Isely, a psychotherapist in Milwaukee, Wisc. "A felony is a felony, whether it's a child or a minor."

He acknowledges that some individual priests fall into gray areas. "But these are not engineers or plumbers or accountants - they're guardians, in a position of public trust. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Catholics Raise Doubts about Vatican Moves ; Some US Groups Want Stronger Zero-Tolerance Policy and More Accountability
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.