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Guest Blog: Pope's 'New' Approach Makes No Sense

Jun 03, 2019 — Categories: , ,

This guest blog by Mary Dispenza, NW Directory of SNAP, discusses the failures of the new Vatican policy on reporting sexual abuse.

Guest Blog: Pope's 'New' Approach Makes No Sense

Mary Dispenza

This guest blog by Mary Dispenza was originally sent as a Letter to the Editor of the Seattle Times.

Pope Francis is getting praise for his recent declaration of norms regarding the sexual-abuse crisis in the Catholic Church. [“Pope mandates reporting of sex abuse to church, not police.”]

This so-called “new” reporting system retains an internal process. Investigation of these crimes should be investigated by the criminal justice system, not the church.

The pope’s mandated reporting norm by priests, nuns and bishops reporting to each other makes no sense whatsoever. Yet, it would be just that: laity to pastors, priests to bishops, ultimately reaching all the way to Pope Francis and perhaps a Vatican commission. Eventually the church might — might! — report it to the criminal-justice system.

Ministers of any faith denomination are not called to be investigators. Ministers are called to serve: to feed the hungry, lift up the lowly, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, do good works and to be the light in a broken world. This is what ministers do best. They should not be turned into detectives, most especially into investigators into matters involving their peers, colleagues and superiors.

Mary Dispenza, 
Northwest leader for Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP).

Join us on June 13, 2019 for a conversation with Mary Dispenza and Rev. James Evinger on responding to clergy misconduct. More information here.

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