Pope Benedict announced Sunday that Philadelphia will host the World Family Meeting in 2015. This could be viewed as a positive sign of support to Philadelphia during troubled times. Despite often being characterized as relentlessly optimistic, I’m not ready to call this a positive.
The Nobel Peace Prize-winning group Amnesty International cited the Vatican in its 2011 annual report for human rights violations because of the global clergy sex abuse crisis. Since then, the Vatican has done little to address this incredible failure in any part of the world. Instead, the news from Rome is “the butler did it” and that nuns are spending too much time on the poor.
While the papal visit in 1979 was an incredible spiritual event, this one will ring hollow if the recommendations of the 2011 Grand Jury report are still not met years later in 2015. If our children are still under-protected, there is nothing to celebrate.
Archdiocesan spokesperson Donna Farrell is quoted as saying archdiocesan officials will “hit the ground running” in regard to preparations for the visit. After years of working for the Archdiocese, I can promise you those plans include fundraising. What it won’t include is any accountability and repercussions for Cardinal Rigali and the Bishops who failed to remove abusive priests from ministry.
Click here to read: “Pope announces world event for Phila. in 2015,” by Darran Simon and David O’Reilly, The Philadelphia Inquirer, June 4, 2012