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"No He Didn't..."

Mar 11, 2014 — Categories: , ,

Dear Pope Francis: Did you really say this in a recent interview? In an interview with the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, Francis acknowledged the “profound” wounds abuse leaves, but then added: “The Catholic Church is perhaps the only public institution that has moved with transparency and responsibility. No one has done more. And yet the church is the only one that has been attacked.”

Dear Pope Francis:

Did you really say this in a recent interview?

In an interview with the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, Francis acknowledged the “profound” wounds abuse leaves, but then added:  “The Catholic Church is perhaps the only public institution that has moved with transparency and responsibility. No one has done more. And yet the church is the only one that has been attacked.”

See, here’s the thing: I’d like to clarify some facts. First, the Protestant churches and Jewish movements in the U.S. began dealing with clergy sexual abuse in the mid 1980s way before the pedophilia scandal came to light. They certainly still have a way to go but at least these faith communities have been at this task. They have also taken their share of lumps from necessary media coverage and law suits both of which have motivated change and some degree of transparent response.

In case you haven’t been keeping up with U.S. media, universities and the military have been similarly challenged and both continue to struggle to respond with some degree of public accountability.

Second, a little advice here: whenever you follow your expressions of concern for the wounds created by priests’ abuse of congregants (which I believe are sincere) with these defensive statements, you completely discredit your assertions of concern. You confirm once again that the Vatican and Bishops just don’t get it.

A confessional stance and a little humility would go a long way to creating a context for an authentic response. So may I suggest an alternative statement we’d like to see:

Pope Francis, when asked about steps to implement the work of his commission on the sexual abuse of children, said: “Sadly the church has been remiss and we have not done enough yet to respond to this profound crisis among us. Other public institutions are ahead of us and we will look to them for expertise and models that we can learn from. We know that the media will continue to hold our feet to the fire until we get this right. We would expect no less.”

Instead of spending time defending what you haven’t done, use your resources to get on with the difficult task of really addressing the need for response, transparency and accountability. Then you can begin the long journey back to restoring the moral credibility of the Roman Catholic Church, which is now in tatters, and supporting the healing of so many who have been harmed.

Your sister in Christ,

Rev. Dr. Marie M. Fortune
www.faithtrustinstitute.org
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Current article

Posted by Pr Dawn Gregg at Mar 11, 2014 05:57 PM
 With all the respect in the world I say: YOU GO GIRL!
You are so right on.
I was taught to "fess up," and get on with it.
As frustrating as it is, don't give up.
Bless your heart and your ministry.
Dawn

Pope's comments

Posted by Loey Powell at Mar 11, 2014 05:58 PM
Well stated, Marie. We - individually and institutionally - never get better until we acknowledge that we still have work to do.

Rev Dr Marie's Response

Posted by Rosemary Denson at Mar 11, 2014 06:18 PM
Thank you for your proposed response for Pope Francis. Hopefully someone will share your words with him.

no he didn't

Posted by dr najuma at Mar 11, 2014 06:32 PM
LOVE the alternative response!!!!
thank you

Marie's Response to Pope Francis

Posted by Laurie Hagen McConkey at Mar 11, 2014 07:08 PM
Marie, your construction of a more appropriate response Pope Francis could have chosen was well worded, Christian leaders would do well to take note. I have seen too much cover-up in the Assemblies of God denomination, despite the destruction done in the lives of others. After I exposed my husband's years of violence at home that went on simultaneously to his Pastoring, I brought up proof of other sinful behaviors & situations that I knew of as well. Church Leaders & Denomination Officials went to great lengths to cover-up everything, perjuring themselves in Family Court to support my violent husband despite mass evidence, threaten me, pull my church membership, have meetings to tell everyone I was crazy. Telling members & church staff if they help me in any way from Prayer to Professional Services they would also be removed from the church. Needless to say as a Pastor's Wife for 30 years, my entire Social World was in that church, as well as my Spiritual World. By the time I found an Attorney willing to take the case & help pull me from poverty, after meeting with dozens of Law Offices who wouldn't touch the case with a ten foot pole, I discovered the Statute of Limitations is TWO years. The fact that Criminals are absolved of their Crimes after 2 years is horrific. Myself and multiple other women are living in Poverty trying to re-build their lives due to situations like this - many more than most would realize. I believe Education is the key: don't just assume that a person is honest & Godly just because he holds a position in a church.

current blog

Posted by Brandon A. A. J. Davis at Mar 11, 2014 11:41 PM
I love and respect your your work but your a little out line with suggesting what the Pope should say in response to the interview question. I think he's not by himself in thinking that the Catholic Church is by themselves in this matter of sexual abuse. Nevertheless, I live in America and haven't seen much media coverage about American Protestant and Jewish Churches.

Just my two cents.

Accountability for Abuse

Posted by Gus Kaufman at Mar 12, 2014 04:59 PM
Re the last post. The Forward, a weekly Jewish newspaper, has been relentless in its coverage of sexual abuse in the Jewish community. Perhaps the last writer doesn't read anything but the 'right' media. He could try googling these topics.