Pope Benedict’s US Visit Hasn’t Changed Much

It has been more than six months since Pope Benedict visited the US. During his visit, he made a number of statements about his expectations concerning the treatment of sexual abuse survivors and the responsibility the bishops have as pastors to root out the evil affecting the Catholic Church.
When Benedict left, I wrote in this blog that I was cautiously optimistic about the potential change. In the ensuing months, that optimism has been eroded by bishops who continue to obfuscate, hide behind church lawyers, and deny any wrongdoing. Furthermore, their statements and more importantly, their actions underscore the fact that nothing has changed. They still remain concerned about their reputations, the reputations of those priests accused, and the general perception of the institutional Catholic Church. I’ve found precious little evidence of any concrete efforts to reach out to the survivors, remove abusive priests, and open up their files in order to show a good faith effort at transparency.
So, the court battles continue. As lawyers for survivors, we have to go to court and fight the Church in order to determine what happened and why survivors were shunned while priest abusers were shuffled off to other unsuspecting parishes. It’s obvious to me the majority of the bishops have no intention of real reform or change.