Pope Francis is getting praise for his recent declaration of norms regarding the sexual-abuse crisis in the Catholic Church. [“Pope mandates reporting of sex abuse to church, not police.”]
This so-called “new” reporting system retains an internal process. Investigation of these crimes should be investigated by the criminal justice system, not the church.
The pope’s mandated reporting norm by priests, nuns and bishops reporting to each other makes no sense whatsoever. Yet, it would be just that: laity to pastors, priests to bishops, ultimately reaching all the way to Pope Francis and perhaps a Vatican commission. Eventually the church might — might! — report it to the criminal-justice system.
Ministers of any faith denomination are not called to be investigators. Ministers are called to serve: to feed the hungry, lift up the lowly, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, do good works and to be the light in a broken world. This is what ministers do best. They should not be turned into detectives, most especially into investigators into matters involving their peers, colleagues and superiors.
Northwest leader for Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), Bellevue