7:54 pm in 1- year anniversary, abuse survivors, arthur budzinski, bishops, Catholic Bishops, Christianity, clergy, federal courthouse, liberty, milwaukee advocate, peter isely, portraying, Religion, religions shame, religious liberty, shameful chapter, u.s. catholic history by UnknownPatriot
By: Susan Hogan
Posted: June 6th, 2012
On the 10-year anniversary of a shameful chapter in U.S. Catholic history, bishops are once again portraying themselves as victims.
Catholic bishops are spearheading a movement of rallies and prayer vigils for religious freedom this summer, which skeptics could view as a classic public-relations tactic of misdirection. The events happen to fall on the anniversary of the most shameful chapter of American bishops’ history.
Ten years ago this month, I sat ringside at the Fairmont Hotel in downtown Dallas, where U.S. bishops, pummeled publicly because of their gross mismanagement of clergy abuse scandals, were meeting under the spotlight of more than 800 media outlets, hundreds of protesters and Catholic advocacy groups.
For months, story after story about Catholic priests raping children rocked the nation, particularly in Boston, the epicenter of the scandals. Under public pressure and embarrassment, the bishops adopted a policy regarding child sexual abuse in June 2002, even though many of them, like the Vatican, believed the scandals were overblown by the media. The policy had no enforcement mechanism.
As a religion reporter for the Dallas Morning News, I watched with disgust as intransigent bishops battled mightily over what should have been no-brainier matters, such as whether to report child-abuse complaints to police before conducting an ecclesial investigation. Shockingly, many wanted to give priest molesters multiple opportunities to return to ministry instead of the “zero tolerance” stance that much of the public demanded.
During the extraordinary meeting in Dallas, the bishops’ communications team orchestrated tightly controlled news conferences. But the majority of bishops steered clear of the press, so we caught them where we could. One morning, I stepped into an elevator and questioned the Rev. Harry Flynn, then the archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis, about the bishops’ sexual-abuse committee, which he headed.
Read More: StarTribune.com