Betrayed Catholics must act
Catholic clergy can no longer be trusted to fix the church’s sex abuse problem, said Tim Roemer. “The laity must act.” This much became clear after a Pennsylvania grand jury revealed hundreds of children to be “victims of both sexual abuse and a cover-up by high-level” priests, spurring investigations of the church in at least six other states. It became clearer still when Pope Francis recently ordered U.S. bishops to delay implementing any sex-abuse reform proposals. These betrayals compel faithful Catholics to act to save our church. First, the laity should demand, via petition, that the church turn over all pertinent records to law enforcement, and support—not oppose—revising statutes of limitations to enable prosecution of past abusers. Lay leaders should get involved in overseeing clergy assignments, and develop “better screening procedures” for priests. We should consider allowing clergy to marry and women to be ordained as priests. Most importantly, Catholics should withhold donations until the clergy hear us and respond. Those of us in the pews need to “stand up, make our voices heard, and demand results.” The safety of our children and the fate of our church are at stake.