Beliefnet
Religion & Public Life With Mark Silk

“Will it never end?” Michael Sean Winters asked
last week in contemplating the indictment handed up by a Philadelphia
grand jury for sexual abuse against three priests, a lay teacher,
and–most importantly–the high archdiocesan official who managed the
cover-up. The answer I’d give is no, not as long as the Catholic church
in America is what it is.

You can say that Philly was one of the toughest nuts for critics to crack. You can hope, for his sake, that Tim Dolan of New York didn’t squirrel away
tens of millions of dollars to avoid settling abuse suits when he ran
the show in Milwaukee. You can enjoy the irony of outgoing Roger Mahony
of L.A., he of many sins, summarily dismissing his Vicar for Clergy for assigning a parish to a priest who had abused a teenage girl in the 1960s.

Then consider the latest news from Ireland:

The Pope will be officially told the Irish Catholic Church is “on the
edge” of national collapse and has only five to 10 years to make a
radical recovery by giving laymen and women a greater say in
decision-making.

That’s according to Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, who’s got the job
of reporting to the Vatican on the state of the Irish church. But if
O’Malley tried to deliver the same message regarding the American
church, his fellow bishops would laugh him out of town. In Ireland, they
understand that clericalism is the problem. Here, they think it’s the
solution.

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