Rod Dreher

Father Tom Reese, S.J., has a good column in America suggesting how the European bishops can and should learn from the painful experience of the American bishops in our Catholic Church’s sex abuse crisis. Excerpt:

Finally, the American bishops excused themselves by saying they made mistakes but were not culpable because of their ignorance. Sorry, this won’t wash. American Catholics wanted some bishops to stand up and say: “I made a mistake, I moved this priest to another parish, I did not think he would abuse again, I got bad advice, but I take full responsibility. I am sorry and I resign.”
If 30 bishops in the United States had done this, the crisis would not have gone on as long as it did. People would have said, “Good, that is what leaders are supposed to do. They get it. With a new bishop we can have healing and move on.” [Emphasis mine — RD]
Bishops have to be willing to sacrifice for the sake of the whole church. It is a scandal that Cardinal Law was the only U.S. bishop to resign because of this crisis. It is encouraging that four Irish bishops have submitted their resignations. Unless the church wants this crisis to go on for years in Europe as it did in the United States, some bishops will have to resign for the good of the church.

On the question of accountability, Peggy Noonan had a good piece last week talking about how the bishops and cardinals (so to speak) of Wall Street continue to avoid real accountability for the disaster they helped drive the economy to. Here’s part of her take on the appearance of Wall Street bigs before the groveling Financial Industry Inquiry Commission that’s supposed to be getting to the bottom of What Happened:

The takeaway, as they say, of the whole event, was more or less this:
Citigroup testifiers: We didn’t do anything particularly wrong, and what happened is all so sad, isn’t it? Sad, subprimed and tranched.
Commission: Yes, all so sad and tragic. Somebody’s head should roll. I like your tie.
Can’t we do better than this?

Actually, I don’t know that we can. The leadership class in the Church, like the leadership class on Wall Street, apparently doesn’t have the sense of honor to resign when they’ve failed catastrophically. At least when a politician does it, the people can at least vote him out. I seriously don’t understand this feeling of entitlement that leaders today have. How do they expect people to respect them, and to take them seriously?

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