Last chance saloon for the US bishops

This week the US Catholic bishops are making a retreat together in a centre outside Chicago. It is an unusual occurrence. At the request of Pope Francis, they have gathered for a silent retreat to discern God’s will for the church in the United States.

The retreat is in response to the terrible year that Catholics in America have suffered. Revelations about the appalling actions of former Washington Cardinal Theodore McCarrick (and their cover up) as well as the fall out from state-level investigations into clerical sexual abuse have had a devastating impact. Many in America thought that, after the crisis had first blown up in Boston in 2002, the bishops had got a handle on it. The fact that someone like McCarrick could have been promoted afterwards, and that many of his colleagues turned a blind eye, has shattered trust between people and their bishops.

And so the US bishops were asked by Pope Francis to go on retreat together to pray and prepare to take action to deepen their commitment to keeping young people safe.

Bishops from around the world will then gather in Rome with Pope Francis from February 21-24 to discuss abuse and child protection. A lot is expected from this February summit. If nothing decisive comes out of it, if it is back to business as usual for bishops’ conferences and individual bishops throughout the world, if the Vatican itself does not act more decisively, then those who have remained loyal to the church through the trauma of the last 25 years will feel utterly betrayed.

This is last chance saloon time for the church to get it right. We can only hope the US bishops’ retreat and the prayers of the rest of us will move those in church authority to do what they should have done all along.

Author: frommypulpit

I'm a Redemptorist preacher and writer, with an interest in history, politics, and sport, who is living with chronic back pain.

2 thoughts on “Last chance saloon for the US bishops”

  1. Might be a good thing for the Irish Bishops to make a similar retreat – maybe even with an old style Redemptorist who could give them hell!

    Like

  2. Many are a angry with the church due to the mistaken belief that people of faith are different from people without belief . Up until fairly recently we all believed that professionals were different in their moral behaviour to working men and women. Even more recently we were horrified to find those idols of masculinity footballers were implicated in child abuse.
    All these discoveries are not due to a decline in human behaviour but due to a new transparency triggered by the law.
    What this means is that such behaviour has always been around underground it is part of the unpleasant side of human nature just like war , and selfishness.
    ‘ After two thousand years of mass,
    We’ve got as far as poison gas .’

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s