When the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith announced yesterday yet another meeting to address the clergy sex abuse crisis, I was once again discouraged to hear that top church officials continue to talk, plan, and promise change in their policies but avoid taking action toward solving the problem.
At this meeting, a symposium to be held at the Vatican in February, top church officials will gather to discuss the clerical sex abuse problem and the “best practices” to protect children. Much like the John Jay study, where bishops commissioned the college to release a study of the clergy sex abuse crisis based on selective files, this meeting will likely let outside “experts” and consultants in only so much as to see what the Vatican wants them to see.
But this is not enough. Church officials need to let outsiders in (most importantly law enforcement) to understand their practices and spur real change in the system. When bishops conceal offender priests they are doing a disservice to kids, parishioners, and the public. Talk is cheap; its action that counts.