Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Sex Abuse Scandal Causing Massive Damage to Church – Colorado Archdiocese on the Offensive

The reputation of the Catholic Church is suffering massive damage from the sex abuse scandal. Opinion of the church and its priests and bishops from both the public at-large and among Catholics has been harmed.

A new Economist/YouGov poll shows that 54 percent of the public now has an unfavorable view of the Catholic Church. Even 28 percent of Catholics now have a negative opinion of the Church.

When compared to the public’s views on churches in general, it’s easy to see how much lower the Catholic Church’s reputation compares.

In a series of questions, the poll identified the key elements of the scandal for the Church:
  • 33% of those raised Catholic no longer view themselves Catholic (in this survey 25% of public were raised Catholic, 18% call themselves Catholic)
  • 44% believe “many priests abused children and teenagers”; 30% of Catholics agree 
  • 30% believe many priests are abusing children now, 15% of Catholics agree
  • 44% say “most or all” bishops were aware of serial abuse, 43% of Catholics agree
  • 28% believe Church is now mostly trying to cover up serial abuse by priests rather than protecting children, 18% Catholics
The Denver Catholic Archdiocese was at least 10 years ahead of the U.S. Bishop’s Conference in dealing with the problem. In 1991, Archbishop, now Cardinal Stafford, started mandatory reporting of abuse to law enforcement authorities. Programs for victims were initiated. Archbishop Chaput continued and extended the programs assisting more than 50 victims of priests (who were deceased). Archbishop Aquila joined the effort to focus on preventing future abuse with a zero tolerance policy.

Nationally and locally, procedures in seminaries are being stepped up to ensure healthy priests and policies are enacted to ensure accountability and transparency in misconduct of cardinals, bishops and priests.

The archdiocese has been highlighting their response in a series of high-profile articles in the Denver Catholic (the old Register). The September 22-October 12 Denver Catholic described Pope Francis’ effort to deal with the scandal with a worldwide session of bishops next February. In a Q&A, Scott Browning, an attorney for the Archdioceses of Denver, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and St. Louis, provides a factual background on the history of cases in Denver and the current efforts to protect children and detect abuse. It’s worth reading.

The Buzz: Francis – Clean house
Pew: Confidence in Pope Francis down sharply in U.S.

1 comment:

Dave Barnes said...

All religions are evil. By definition and by design.