I just finished reading “Catholics have rendered a verdict” – an opinion piece in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer by Orlando R. Barone. He ends his thoughtful column with, “No bishop living today will see that trusting smile fully restored, but no living bishop can dodge the moral imperative to begin the healing. There will be more trials and more juries and more lengthy deliberations, but it is the mothers who will render the verdict that counts.”
This mother will need more than the weak statement issued in response to Msgr. Lynn’s verdict. Here it is:
“Archdiocese Reacts to Verdict In Trial of Monsignor Lynn, June 22, 2012
This has been a difficult time for all Catholics, especially victims of sexual abuse. The lessons of the last year have made our Church a more vigilant guardian of our people’s safety. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia is on a journey of reform and renewal that requires honesty and hope. We are committed to providing support and assistance to parishioners as they and the Church seek to more deeply understand sexual violence, and to create an environment that is safe and welcoming to all, including past victims.
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia offers a heartfelt apology to all victims of clergy sexual abuse. Now and in the future, the Church will continue to take vigorous steps to ensure safe church environments for all the faithful in Philadelphia.”
We’ve heard these promises before. Healing and real protection can’t begin without truth. When will the Church admit that not only Bevilacqua but many other Cardinals have harmed children through their cover ups? When will the root causes of the cover up be addressed in open forums with the laity? I’m not talking about the hope and healing initiative on the parish level. I’m referring to the Vatican. Archbishop Chaput could be the best Archbishop ever but what happens when he is gone? A pervasive culture of clericalism persists throughout the institution. That culture will continue to allow this kind of cover up.
As a mother, I refuse to support the institution in any way until it is reformed. My son will no longer attend parochial school. I’ll send him to public or private Catholic school. The archdiocese won’t see or squander a dime of mine. I’ll give directly to Sister Mary Scullion and other Catholic modern-day saints. That’s this Catholic mother’s verdict.