Scandal Fallout Persists:
The diocese of San Bernardino is suing the diocese of Boston. Midwest Conventual Franciscans are suing the diocese of Los Angeles. And U.S. Bishops are still coming to terms with the legacy of years of coverup and transfer of men with serious mental issues who became a danger to the Church’s children. In the meantime the Vatican has expedited the process for removing abusive priests even as it heard evidence from non Catholic scientific experts that being newly ordained or being homosexual are “risk factors” for (and not causes of) sexual abuse of minors. This has fueled hope that an anticipated document banning gays from the priesthood will not be published.
National Lay review Board begins work:
The National Lay Review Board has set itself an ambitious agenda of conducting audits of the 195 U.S. dioceses to assure compliance with the June 2002 Charter passed by the U.S. Bishops’ Conference. It will also obtain from each diocese procedures for local review boards, interview about 100 church experts for a report on causes of the crisis and identify and promote diocesan child protection programs. The panel is also commissioning two studies. One will determine the scope of clerical abuse by statistically determining how many priests have engaged in the sexual abuse of minors. It will include figures on the costs associated with settling abuse claims and could be ready in June . An even more comprehensive epidemiological survey will be conducted by an independent body. This survey will compare the rate of priestly abuse with childhood sexual abuse in the general population and will be published in peer reviewed scientific journal.
Call to Action Organizing for Accountability:
There are now more than 600 Call to Action members and affiliates in 87 dioceses seeking a public accounting of number, history, disposition and costs associated with the sex abuse crisis in their local area. In Cleveland, FutureChurch has joined with groups from four area parishes working toward such accountability.