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  Home :: Articles :: The Bishops at Bay

The Bishops at Bay

By Garry Wills

Betrayal: The Crisis in the Catholic Church
by the Investigative Staff of the Boston Globe

Little, Brown, 274 pp., $23.95

Conclave: The Politics, Personalities, and Process of the Next Papal Election
by John L. Allen Jr.

Image/Doubleday, 231 pp., $12.95(paper)


The Critics

The nearly three hundred Catholic bishops of the United States whotraveled to Dallas for their semiannual meeting, this June 13–15, werepartly chastened in demeanor. It was oddly symbolic that, though theywere given the extra courtesies that airlines have always shown theclergy, they were also subjected to the intense security checks thateveryone undergoes in the wake of the Twin Towers disaster—the onlyspecial attention given them was a careful scanning of the largecrucifix many wear on a chain around their necks. It is a newexperience for some of them to be treated like ordinary people. Eventhe one bishop who came in luxury, in a private plane lent him by abenefactor whose identity is unknown, was not enjoying a specialprivilege but dodging a special threat. Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston,whose actions sparked the current outrage over reshuffled priests whohave abused minors, did not want to be trapped in an airport or on aplane where he could be accosted, questioned, or publicly criticized.He travels with bodyguards in his hometown, and he sneaked off to Romelast spring by being driven south for five hours to an airport where hewould not be recognized. (We learn this latter detail from Betrayal, the excellent account of Law's troubles by the Boston Globe reporters who exposed them.)

The conduct of the bishops leading up to this meeting reminded me oflions in the similes of classical epic. Beset by dogs and hunters,crouching under the spears thrown, the lions draw back from one covertto another, lashing their tails, making swipes in the air with theirclaws, showing their teeth half in snarl and half in grin, steadilygiving ground. Defense after defense failed the bishops—the claim thatthe problem of pedophile priests had been dealt with in 1992, thatguidelines adopted then were adequate and adequately enforced, that allthe cases were old, that the records had all been turned over, thatjournalists were making too much of the problem, that the criticismswere prompted by anti-Catholicism. Despite all these claims, thepedophile scandal spread, week after week, from Boston to every sectorof the country. Two bishops in Florida and one in Kentucky resignedunder accusations of being pedophiles themselves. Two others resignedfor different sexual offenses. Over two hundred priests have beenremoved from the ministry since January.

The bishops were given a one-two punch at the very time when they were traveling to Dallas. A Wall Street Journaland NBC poll showed that 89 percent of respondents believed thatbishops who transferred pedophiles to new ministries should be removedfrom office, and the Dallas Morning News found, in adiocese-by-diocese rundown, that two thirds of the bishops had donejust that. The very format of the Dallas paper's report wasdevastating—the record of 112 bishops was spread over five full pages,with photographs of most of the bishops lined up like a rogues' galleryof episcopal crime. The pictures gave arriving journalists the besthandy tool for linking names with faces as the men in black bustled orsauntered through the corridors of the Fairmont Hotel, where themeeting was taking place. The same issue of the paper had a column bythe editor of D [for Dallas] Magazine calling on all thebishops to resign, as an expression of their corporate responsibilityfor decades of protecting the abuse of Catholic minors. Even the twoloyal Catholic lay persons chosen to address the bishops wouldexcoriate them all as participants in a corrupt system. The sheep wererebuking the shepherds, as in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales:

For if a priest be fall'n, in whom we trust,
What wonder if profaner men should rust?
A fallen priest, 'tis shame to think upon—
Sheep with clean wool, their shepherd shitted-on.

There seemed little reason to expect the bishops to take measures inDallas that would restore the trust they had forfeited. An Aprilmeeting of US cardinals with the Pope had raised hopes for a solutionto the problem of sexual abuse, but it dashed those hopes by releasinga document that proposed to remove from the clerical state "a priestwho has become notorious and is guilty of repeated and aggressivesexual abuse of minors."[2] The Vatican was astonished that this statement was taken as a license for the pedophiles, not a ban on them.

The bishops' record for doing and saying the wrong thing wasextended when a draft document for the Dallas meeting was released, onethat exempted priests from dismissal if they had committed only oneoffense long ago. Jay Leno joked that the bishops were giving such men"only one freebie, so I hope it was a cute one." Barbara Blaine, aleader of the group SNAP (Survivors Network of Those Abused byPriests), noted that Bobby Frank Cherry had recently been convicted fora church bombing that occurred forty years ago in Birmingham, and "hehas not bombed a single church since then." So—by the standardsAmerican bishops set for their priests—he should go free.

On the very eve of the meeting in Dallas, thebishops seemed to be up to their old self-defeating tricks when theycanceled a promise to let representative victims of priestly crimeaddress the session. They used as their excuse the fact that SNAP hadjoined a lawsuit calling for the end of past confidentiality agreementsentered into by dioceses that settled claims against their priests. Innegotiations with the bishops, Peter Isely of SNAP asked the lawyer forthe bishops' conference if that suit posed any legal bar to hearingfrom the victims, and the lawyer, Mark Chopko, said it did not. ButSNAP saved the bishops from themselves by withdrawing from the suitanyway. If the ban on their appearance had stood, the whole meetingwould have been doomed.


Thead hoc committee that had drafted the proposals for Dallas met secretlywith leaders of SNAP and the other main victims' group, Survivors ofClergy Abuse Linkup, on the day before the formal opening of theconference. The survivors were told that their appearance before thebody of the bishops was being reconsidered. The victims then met inprivate session with four cardinals—they had invited all eightcardinals active in the United States, though only four accepted theirinvitation. In the Dallas meeting, Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua ofPhiladelphia, thinking he was showing concern for the stories of abuse,said that they moved him because he had never heard from a victimbefore (though one of the victims present had repeatedly tried to reachhim in Philadelphia). Participants in the meeting said that the othercardinals, especially Roger Mahony of Los Angeles, were madeuncomfortable by Bevilacqua's insensitivity. At the press conferenceheld after the meeting, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington wentout of his way to say that he had met with many victims. But McCarrick,who is a smooth political operator, had himself not entirely masteredthe appropriate language. When he blamed the Church crisis on "a fewvery sick and mixed-up priests," one of the victims on the dais withhim, Mark Seranno, interrupted to say that systematic cover-up was thereal source of the crisis, not "a few bad apples." After years ofstruggle on such points, entrenched attitudes keep showing up in eventhe brightest of the conference members.

Two of the SNAP leaders, Peter Isely and David Clohessy, left themeeting with the cardinals before it ended, out of fear that they wouldbe ushered away from reporters. When they slipped into the huge pressroom (accommodating over seven hundred journalists for this event),reporters formed a tight knot around them, firing questions. SNAP fearsabout access to the press were justified by the anger of a leoninemonsignor, Francis Maniscalco, who was handling press relations for thebishops. Prowling around the edges of the journalistic huddle,obviously displeased that an unauthorized press conference was takingplace, he muttered loudly that the two men were rude to have left themeeting early. When Bevilacqua's words were reported, the monsignorroared that Bevilacqua should be allowed to speak for himself.

The lion dying thrusteth forth his paw
And wounds the earth, if nothing else, with rage
To be o'erpowered.

(Richard II, 5.1.29–31)

In a secret session Wednesday night, the bishopsdecided that they would let four victims speak to them in the openingThursday session. These speakers were preceded by the two lay personsthe bishops had invited to address them—Scott Appleby, the head of theleading center for the study of American Catholic history (the CushwaCenter at Notre Dame), and Margaret Steinfels, editor of the layCatholic magazine Commonweal. The victims' reports werefollowed by a harrowing account of the impact of clerical abuse by Dr.Mary Gail Frawley-O'Dea, executive director of the Trauma TreatmentCenter at the Manhattan Institute for Psychoanalysis. No veteranreporter of the bishops' semiannual meetings could remember their everbeing publicly addressed by members of the laity—yet here were sevenlay persons directing the most withering criticism at the bishops in atelevised session. Things had certainly changed.

Appleby and Steinfels, though they did not write their statements in concert, agreed nonetheless on three main points:

(1) The crisis in the American Catholic Church is not confined tothe single matter of sexual abuse, and cannot be allayed simply byaddressing that problem. It is, said Appleby, just one manifestation(though a grisly one) of "a closed clerical culture that infects thepriesthood," a priesthood that has "been made vulnerable to theunstable and to the immoral."

(2) The crisis is caused by a total breakdown in accountability of the hierarchy to the laity. As Steinfels put it:

The dam has broken—a reservoir of trust among Catholics hasrun dry. This scandal has brought home to lay people how essentiallypowerless they are to affect its outcome—and virtually anything else todo with the church. When we ask, "What can I do?" what lay person isn'tbrought up short in realizing, forty years after Vatican II with itspromise of consultation and collaboration, that our only seriousleverage is money? That in itself is a scandal.

(3) This breakdown stems from systemic corruption in the hierarchy,a corruption caused by secrecy, denial, clerical self-protectiveness,and docility to Vatican directives that ban openness. Steinfelscastigated a "lack of candor, honesty, integrity," a "silent andpassive acquiescence in Vatican edicts and understandings that you knowto be contrary to your own pastoral experience." Appleby urged thebishops "to formulate policies that make the most sense of this[American] environment, without anticipating how the Vatican mightrespond."


The Charter

Never before had these men been forced to sit still for such atongue-lashing—and it must have been particularly galling, forofficials who like to whisper directives in their own sacred chambers,to have such bitter medicine administered in public. But they grimlyendured it, and the debate that followed showed that at least some ofthe bishops had finally "got it." Each attempt to water down the maindocument they were to vote on (called the Charter) was defeated withthe argument that "the people expect more of us." The exemption for asingle past offense had been removed even before the debate began. Thebroadest possible definition of sexual abuse, one based on a documentissued by Canada's bishops, was adopted. This defined as abuse anyadult's manipulation of a minor to achieve his or her own sexualgratification, even if that does not involve force, genital contact, orthe adult's making the first overture. Several bishops wanted to limitthe definition to genital contact; but under that definition, a priestcould kiss a minor on the lips, ply the child with pornography orobscene phone calls, yet be innocent of any abuse. The narrowerdefinition would be laxer on the treatment of minors than are many lawsagainst sexual harassment of adults.

Other bishops objected to the idea of turning over any allegation ofabuse to the civil authorities. Thomas Doran of Rockford, Illinois,said the bishops must not "rat out our priests." But Mark Chopko, thegeneral counsel of the bishops' conference, who was sitting on thefloor to expound civil law, said that most states had adopted or wouldadopt laws that required this kind of reporting from teachers andsocial workers. Could priests be seen as free of the requirement thatlay teachers in Catholic schools submit to? Cardinal Mahony noted thathe had been twice accused of molesting minors and was happy to have thecivil authorities dispose quickly of those false allegations. JustinRigali of St. Louis agreed that reporting to the civil authorities, whoare better at investigating criminal allegations, "can be an advantageto our priests."

Still other bishops wanted to restore the exemption for priests whohad committed only one act of abuse in the past and sincerely repentedof it. Why should their whole lives be affected by a single act? JosephGalante, the coadjutor bishop of Dallas, answered that question forseveral of us journalists after the public meeting. Recalling thehorrors related by Dr. Frawley-O'Dea, he said, "The victim's whole lifehas been affected, why should the priest's not be?" In the publicmeeting itself, Francis DiLorenzo said that certain social taboosdisqualify a person from holding any position of honor—murder, incest,cannibalism, and child abuse among them. He struck a note that too fewhad struck—that the issue is not simply one of forgiving a sinner butof maintaining the honor of the priesthood and of the Church. In thefifth century, Saint Augustine said that any priest in his monasterywho lied about his vows would be forgiven his sin if he sincerelyrepented, but "he shall not be a cleric so long as I am a bishop."[3] Augustine would today be called an advocate for "zero tolerance."

Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk of Cincinnati beat back all attempts tosoften the document by saying that the body could no longer be seen asmaneuvering for "wiggle room." When it was proposed to report only"credible" allegations to civil authorities, it was Law himself whorose to oppose that, successfully. It seemed that most of those takinga hard line—not only Pilarcszyk, but Mahony, McCarrick, Egan, George,Law—were in the Dallas paper's rogues' gallery. Had they learned thehard way not to hang on to questionable underlings? The hard lineseemed to sweep to a convincing victory when the final vote for theCharter went 239 for, only 13 against. (It required 190 votes to passby the required two thirds.)

Then, in a brilliant stroke, the Catholic governor of Oklahoma,Frank Keating, was introduced at the last session to assume personalleadership of an oversight committee for policing the enforcement ofthe Charter. He spoke of other members already appointed—RobertBennett, the Washington lawyer, Anne Burnett, a Chicago judge—andexplained that victims would be represented on the committee, and thatit would make criminal referrals of anyone (including bishops) foundsheltering suspects of child abuse. This sent a clear signal that theCharter had already gone into effect, immediately after the vote on it.The effect aimed at was one of decisive and final action, after all theprior evasions.

But what of the call by Appleby and Steinfels forthe bishops to stand up to the Vatican's directives, which hadencouraged resistance to accountability in the past? Thomas Reese, theJesuit editor of America magazine, who wrote the most respected account of how the Vatican operates, Inside the Vatican,[4]told journalists that in all his years of attending these meetings,"this is the first time they were not continually looking over theirshoulders for Rome's reaction." They were too busy fighting offassaults from the laity. In fact, they made one gutsy move for whichthey got little credit in the press. Most reporting from Dallas talkedas if the Charter were being submitted to Rome for approval. That wasnot true. The new term, "Charter," was invented for a document that wasa voluntary commitment by the bishops to each other. Since it was notdrafted as Church law, it could be observed immediately on the basis ofeach bishop's agreement to act in his own sphere just as his brotherbishops were doing in theirs. What was submitted to Rome was anentirely different document, called the Norms. This described thebishops' policy as conforming to canon law, and asked that it be giventhe status of "positive law." In effect, the bishops were playing agame of chicken with Rome, saying, "We had to put this policy intoeffect, it was the least our people would accept from us, and it willbe operating while you look at canon law procedures." They were daringRome to rescind a policy adopted by an overwhelming number of thebishops in response to an overwhelming number of Catholics demanding it.

To understand the risk involved in the Dallas strategy, one mustrecall the drumbeat of signals coming from Rome urging the bishops notto "give in" to the press or to prosecutors seeking to punish priests:

In February, Tarcisio Bertone, the close associate of (andoccasional spokesperson for) Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger on theCongregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, told the magazine 30 Giorni that the civil authority has no right to demand that a bishop turn over his own priest.[5]

On April 23, the Pope urged the United States cardinals in Rome toremember that offending priests may experience "the force of Christianconversion, that radical determination to turn from sin and return toGod, which reaches the depths of the hu-man soul and can work anuncommon alteration."[6]

On April 29, Archbishop Julian Herranz, head of the PontificalCouncil for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts, addressing theCatholic University of Milan, said that the press in Americahad proddedbishops into making unwarranted settlements against the Church, whichhas no obligation to turn priests over to the secular authorities.[7]

On May 16, Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras, oftenmentioned as a candidate for the papacy, at a press conference in Rome,compared the treatment of Cardinal Law to Communist trials, Decius'spersecution of Christians, and the tactics of Hitler and Stalin. Hesaid he would be prepared to go to jail rather than harm one of hispriests, and that priests should be pastors, not agents of the CIA orFBI.[8]

On May 19, Gianfranco Ghirlanda, a Jesuit canon law expert and judge on a Vatican court, the Signatura Apostolica, wrote in Civiltà Cattolicathat any priest's privacy should not be invaded by a requirement totake psychological testing, and that a bishop who is convinced that anoffending priest has reformed may assign him to a new parish withouttelling those at his new post.[9]

On June 1, the Jesuit priest Giovanni Marchesi wrote in Civiltà Cattolicathat the Pope had shown courage in publicly addressing the pedo-phileproblem, and that the press had taken unfair advantage of his opennessto indulge in "a morbid and scandal-mongering inquisitiveness." Thepress was trying to get even, said Father Marchesi, for the Pope'scriticism of the Gulf War, rather than addressing real problems in theworld, like the crisis in the Middle East.[10]

On June 10, a favorite of the Pope, recently made a cardinal by him,the Jesuit Avery Dulles, warned the bishops not to take positions inDallas that the Pope would just have to reverse.[11]Dulles is not a bishop, so he did not have a vote in Dallas, but he wasallowed to sit on the floor by courtesy of the bishops, and he rose toattack the Charter before the bishops voted on it—he opposed the broaddefinition of sexual abuse, the "adversarial" relationship the Charterwould create between bishops and priests, the "unconscionable"requirement to report alle-gations to civil authorities, and thewillingness to open diocesan files even "without legal compulsion."

This rumble of voices from Rome made absolutely clear how the beliefin a sacrosanct clerical status, one immune to outside control, led tothe cover-up of priests' crimes for so long. When John Kennedy wasrunning for president, old charges made by Paul Blanshard (in his book American Freedom and Catholic Power)were revived —that Catholics do not feel themselves bound to observethe laws that bind other citizens of the United States. Were Blanshardalive now, he would find ample justification for his charge in theposition the Vatican has expressed continually and shrilly in recentmonths. The bishops in Dallas had to be aware that Rome would notapprove of what they were doing; but demands made on them by the laitymade it impossible for them to do otherwise. In fact, most Catholicsstill think they did not do enough. The bishops had taken publiccriticism, apologized to victims (through their spokesman, theconference president Wilton Gregory), ignored Rome's signals, called ina tough lay committee to police their actions, pledged "transparency"in all future dealings with allegations of sexual abuse—yet theresponse was one of overwhelming disappointment. That shows how farbehind the curve of opinion within the body of the faithful the bishopsremain. They have so much catching up to do that almost any efforts noware seen as inadequate.


The Response

A Washington Post poll published a week after the Dallasconference showed that only 3 percent of Catholics thought the bishopshad gone too far, while 66 percent said that they had not gone farenough in addressing the pedophile problem.[12]An ABC News poll from the same time showed that though 77 percent ofCatholics had expected the Dallas meeting to "produce improvements,"only 44 percent thought that it had done so.[13] A Dallas Morning Newspoll of Texans showed that 95 percent of Catholics thought allallegations of sexual abuse should be reported to the authorities.[14]A Zogby national poll found that an amazing 96 percent of Catholicssaid bishops who do not remove pedophiles should be disciplined by thePope.[15] That is as close to unanimity as you can get in the Catholic community.

Journalists were puzzling over the fact that left and right wereunited in condemning the bishops. They had different reasons, ofcourse. Some on the right wanted all gay priests removed (a positionAvery Dulles hinted at). Some on the left wanted deeper reforms in thepriesthood, including a change from mandatory to voluntary celibacy andthe admission of women. Vatican spokesmen called this "opportunism,"using the scandal to push reforms already popular with lay Catholics.Over and over we were told that the pedophile scandal had nothing to dowith celibacy. But how can anyone think that the callousness towardchildren would have reached such a level if priests' wives or womenpriests had been involved in those children's treatment, or if thebishops themselves had children who were abused or threatened withabuse? The Dallas paper's poll found that 51 percent agreed that thepedophile scandal is connected with mandatory celibacy, while only 38percent disagreed. A poll of Canadians found that 52 percent consideredcelibacy the cause of sexual abuse.[16]

The most common complaint about the bishops' action was that it lefttheir own ranks unscathed. How can a bishop tell a priest he must giveup his ministry for one offense when the bishop himself has covered upmany offenses? The bishops rightly said that they have no authorityover each other. That had been surrendered to a centralizing pope. TheSecond Vatican Council of 1962–1965 encouraged increased action ofbishops in their national conferences and in international synods. Butthe Vatican has denied the power of the former and rigged the meetingsof the latter. In 1965, Joseph Ratzinger wrote that the bishops'national conferences were "the best means of concrete plurality inunity."[17] They showed that "the church is essentially plural."[18]But when some European conferences began to consider on their ownquestions like mandatory celibacy, Ratzinger switched his stand,declaring in 1985 that these gatherings "have no theological basis."[19]

The Pope endorsed the latter position in a 1998 document, Apostolos Suos.[20] John Allen, the Vatican correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter,traces in his book on the next conclave the way the Pope has renderedbishops impotent in area after area—the framing of liturgy in theirlanguages, the use of deacons and lay assistants, the direction ofseminaries and universities. The Pope has made a mockery of the VaticanCouncil's call for the collegial sharing of authority. He has reducedthe bishops to papal errand boys, given rein to act only when runningtheir appointed errands. This leaves them with little they can doexcept engage, as Cardinal Law did, in Stakhanovite efforts againstabortion laws. The Boston Globe reporters quote Thomas P.O'Neill III, the son of the late Speaker of the House, as saying,"Cardinal Law came in here [to Boston] and judged people andpoliticians on one issue: abortion." The Cardinal was too deeplyengaged with the fate of the unborn to find time to care for the bornminors being abused by his priests.

Catholics are right to wonder if these men, chosenfor docility to the role assigned them from Rome, have the nerve tostick by the pledge they made in Dallas. Already, some bishops aresaying that their "zero tolerance" policy is subject to exceptions andfuzzinesses. At the airport leaving Dallas, I talked with the affablebishop of Worcester, Massachusetts, Daniel Reilly, and asked what hewould do with his priests accused of sexual abuse. "That is not at allclear," he said—though the point of the Charter, according to BishopWilton Gregory, the president of the conference who steered it topassage, was to give a very clear message, with no "wiggle room."Priests are already challenging the bishops who try to remove them,appealing to Rome. In the Chicago dioceses alone, five priests areprotesting their removal, even one who admits to past abuse. Chicago'sCardinal George, who took a hard line during the debates over theCharter, said he is supporting the appeal of the five.

Thirteen bishops voted against the charter. Since it does not havethe force of law, but is just a voluntary agreement on each bishop'spart, the thirteen are not bound by it. Others voted for the Charterwith great and manifest reluctance. Cardinal Bevilacqua said that hewould vote for the Charter, though "I wish I didn't have to." Otherssaid they would vote for the document "despite its flaws." CardinalEgan of New York said that the law now requires that the bishops do nopreliminary checking of an allegation's validity, but just turn it overand then wait for the civil authority to rule. "It's outrageous thatthis is the way it works," he said, "but this is the way it works."

On the morning after the conference, I walked through theDallas/Fort Worth Airport, which was heavily dotted with aging men inblack. They looked more hapless and adrift than any group I couldimagine of a comparable status, businessmen, professionals, oracademicians. A few jostled and joshed each other into the first-classlounge. Some were talking to each other. But most sat alone, waitingfor delayed flights, staring into space or looking at CNN on the TVmonitors. I sat across from one bishop who spent a half-hour workinghis way through the Dallas Morning News. There were only twostories on the conference; but he went straight through the wholepaper—sports, business, and all. Then, for a while, he sat with avacant look. Finally, he started reading the paper all over again.

I was surprised, reflecting back on the formal andinformal sessions of this conference—and then not surprised afterall—to find that three of those criticizing the bishops mostenergetically had also expressed pity for them: Jason Berry, thejournalist who broke the first main story on priest-pedophiles in the1980s; Tom Fox, the editor of the National Catholic Reporter;and Scott Appleby, who asked in the opening day's opening address, "Whywould anyone in his right mind want to be a Catholic bishop today?"

These are clearly company men— which is what got them into theircurrent scrape—and the company is not making it easy for them to getout of the scrape. It is a measure of the current desperation that eventhey, at last, see that they must address the concerns of the laity.The happy side of the current crisis is the fact that lay persons havesuccessfully demanded such accountability. It is not a demand that willgo away or one that can be neglected. Had the Pope died a year ago, oreven half a year ago, those meeting to choose his successor might havethought that his term had been a success, that things could be left totravel along in the same track. It is impossible to think that now.Liberal Catholics have long been disappointed in him. But now, evenconservative Catholics know that something has gone terribly wrong withthe Church.

Taping the show Uncommon Knowledge for PBS, two staunchconservatives recently called the Pope's reign a failure. JosephFessio, S.J., a student of Cardinal Ratzinger and his publisher inAmerica, said that the Pope has not governed the Church well. RodDreher, who writes on religion for National Review, said thatthe next pope should dismiss all the American bishops, those mainlyappointed by John Paul II, for failing in their duty. Father Fessiosaid that only lay Catholics who accept the Pope's teaching on, forinstance, contraception, should serve on lay advisory boards to futurebishops—which means that they would have to be drawn from a pool of 20percent or less of the Catholic body. That is clearly not going tohappen.

For many reasons, the glow is going off this Pope. When Canadianswere asked in May if they were anticipating the pontiff's upcoming tripthere, less than 40 percent expressed any interest at all, and 60percent of the Catholics said that he should have resigned by now.[21]The agenda of the Second Vatican Council, on hold during the term ofJohn Paul II, will be resumed after his death or resignation, makingfor more accountability in the Church. The American bishops have cometo recognize this fact. That is the long-term meaning of the DallasCharter.

—July 18, 2002

[1] The Canterbury Tales, Prologue, 501– 504, partly modernized. (The final line in the original is "A shiten shepherde and a clene sheep.")

[2] Text in Giovanni Marchesi, S.J., "La chiesa cattolica negli Stati Uniti scossa dallo scandalo della pedofilia," Civiltà Cattolica, June 1, 2002, pp. 419–522: "dimissionedallo stato clericale di un sacerdote che è diventato notorio ed ècolpevole dell'abuso sessuale ripetuto e aggressivo di minori."

[3] Augustine, Patrologia Latina 39.1580.

[4] Harvard University Press, 1997.

[5] John L. Allen Jr., "Vatican Prelates Oppose Move to Report Priests," National Catholic Reporter, May 31, 2002.

[6] Text in Marchesi, "La chiesa cattolica negli Stati Uniti."

[7] Andrew Greeley, "The Gall of Rome," Chicago Sun-Times, May 24, 2002.

[8] E.J. Dionne Jr., "A Cleric Gets It All Wrong," The Washington Post, June 11, 2002.

[9] Gianfranco Ghirlanda, S.J., "Doveri e diritti implicati nei case di abusi perpetrati da chierici," Civiltà Cattolica, May 19, 2002, pp. 341–353.

[10] Marchesi, "La chiesa cattolica negli Stati Uniti."

[11] Cardinal Avery Dulles, "The Bishops and the Vatican," The New York Times, June 10, 2002.

[12] Richard Morin and Claudia Deane, "Bishops Fell Short, Poll Shows," The Washington Post, June 19, 2002.

[13] Gary Langer, "Public Wants Jail for Complicit Bishops,", June 24, 2002.

[14] Berta Delgado, "Poll: Crisis Hasn't Been Handled Well," Dallas Morning News, June 15, 2002.

[15] Janet Kornblum, "Defrock Abusers, Most Catholics Say," USA Today, June 21, 2002.

[16] "Most Canadians and Catholics Believe Ailing Pope Should Retire,", June 2, 2002.

[17] Joseph Ratzinger, "The Pastoral Implications of Episcopal Collegiality," Concilium 1965, p. 30.

[18] Joseph Ratzinger, "Announcements and Prefatory Notes of Explanation," in Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II, edited by Herbert Vorgrimler, Vol. 1 (Herder, 1967), p. 300.

[19] Vittorio Massori, The Ratzinger Report: An Exclusive Interview on the State of the Church, translated by Salvator Attanasio and Graham Harrison (Ignatius Press, 1985), pp. 59–62.

[20] Pope John Paul II, Apostolic Letter (Motu Proprio), Apostolos Suos,May 21, 1998. The Pope says that no national conference action is validunless it is decided on unanimously and/or given a formal recognitiofrom the Holy See (Section III, paragraph 22, and Section Four, Article1). This gives any bishop a veto over all his fellows. It explains,therefore, why the Dallas Charter can only be an informal agreementbetween those voting for it. The thirteen opposed invalidate what the339 agreed to, and a papal recognitio was not requested.

[21] "Most Canadians and Catholics Believe Ailing Pope Should Retire."


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Pedophilia and sexual abuse of children in Australia