Archbishop Timothy Dolan in his capacity as President of the USCCB, (as opposed to 60 minutes glad hander), has issued the official response for the abysmal situation in Philadelphia. Interesting that he doesn't actually mention Philadelphia or Cardinal Rigali, but we are to be assured all our bishops are seriously going to enforce the zero tolerance policy as stated in the Dallas Charter. No mention of ever holding bishops accountable in any way should they once again fail to enforce the Dallas Charter. I guess the USCCB thinks that's the responsibility of Grand Juries at which time bishops will have enough time to contact their travel agents for a very quick and permanent trip to Rome:
"In light of the recent disclosures about the Church’s response to the sexual abuse of minors by priests, I have been asked by my brother bishops, gathered for the recent meeting of the Administrative Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, to offer reassurances that this painful issue continues to receive our careful attention, that the protection of our children and young people is of highest priority, and that the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People that we adopted in 2002 remains strongly in place.
Over the past nine years, we have constantly reviewed the high promises and rigorous mandates of the Charter, as we continually try to make it even more effective. Thanks to the input of our National Review Board, Catholic parents, professionals, the victim-survivor community, law enforcement officials, and our diocesan victim-assistance coordinators, we keep refining the efficiency of the Charter. We want to learn from our mistakes and we welcome constructive criticism. In fact, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has a long-planned review of the Charter scheduled for our June meeting. (If this is all so true, then explain why two heads of the National Review Board have quit in frustration, and one referred to your group as "like dealing with the Mafia".
The arrival of April, National Child Abuse Prevention Month, provides us the providential opportunity to unite with all Americans in a renewed resolve to halt the scourge of sexual abuse of youth in our society.
We bishops recommit ourselves to the rigorous mandates of the Charter, and renew our confidence in its effectiveness. We repeat what we have said in the Charter: “We make our own the words of His Holiness, Pope John Paul II: that the sexual abuse of young people is by every standard wrong and rightly considered a crime by society; it is also an appalling sin in the eyes of God” (Address to the Cardinals of the United States and Conference Officers, April 23, 2002). We remain especially firm in our commitment to remove permanently from public ministry any priest who committed such an intolerable offense. (Citing John Paul the Great Enabler does not increase my confidence in the believability of your words. I am just as interested in removing any bishop who enables any priest--or themselves as that's been true in some cases.)
The annual outside audits by forensic experts will continue, checking that we remain faithful to the processes in place to protect our young people, promote healing of victims/survivors and restore trust. We also thank our diocesan review boards, and those who lead our extensive programs of child protection and background checks for all priests, deacons, teachers, youth workers and volunteers in our expansive apostolates to young people.
In short, the progress made must continue and cannot be derailed; we want to strengthen it even more; we can never stop working at it, because each child and young person must always be safe, loved and cherished in the Church. We are encouraged in this resolve by the words of Pope Benedict XVI to the bishops of the United States during his Apostolic Visit in 2008: “It is your God-given responsibility as pastors to bind up the wounds caused by every breach of trust, to foster healing, to promote reconciliation and to reach out with loving concern to those so seriously wronged."
Most Reverend Timothy M. Dolan
Archbishop of New York
President, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
I could write quite a treatise in response to this, but it probably wouldn't be all that charitable or professional, so instead I will lift a comment from a frequent contributor to the NCR blogs, Aileen. It's much better than I would have done. I especially agree with her last paragraph.
Submitted by Aileen USA (not verified) on Mar. 24, 2011.
Two thirds of bishops over a fifty year period to date (by public record) have been involved as criminal accomplices in the commission of felonies (conspiracy cover-ups, intimidating and silencing victims, moving predators around, allowing them to remain in ministry). The members of the USCCB voted a decade ago to exclude themselves from the provisions of their own charter. Have you no shame? Do you really believe that your listeners are stupid? ...or perhaps lobotomized?
In many dioceses your "review boards" have become little more than rubber stamps for hierarchical PR — review board members who resigned in disgust have blown the whistle on that bit of bait-and-switch.
Your VIRTUS program was created by your own Catholic risk management group — The National Catholic Risk Retention Group, Inc. — whose mission statement verifies that its purpose is to manage legal liability risk for your 'corporate brand' and protect the financial assets of the RCC, ...not God's people.
Save your fancy words for the courts. Eventually you will find yourself there. The Philadelphia grand jury was acting in the prophetic service of God to clean up the corruption in high places that RCC hierarchy won't. There is actually scriptural precedence for God using even outsiders in other nations to bring retribution for heinous crimes and sins.
The original apostles were cowards who abandoned the Lord and ran away from the cross — Peter denied even knowing Him. Their successors are carrying on that ignoble tradition. Dolan is so eager to eventually wear the cardinal's "red" (which ostensibly represents a willingness to die for Christ and his flock) ...now is the time to step up to the plate and earn it! Enough of circling the hierarchical wagons to protect themselves! Enough talk!