Bishop in Charge of Protecting Children Talks a Good Game

Bishop Blase Cupich, head of the Diocese of Rapid City South Dakota, is the new chair of the bishops’ Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People. As the new chair, Cupich has stated the bishops priority must be reaching out to victims. Pope Benedict XVI said the same thing eight months ago and nothing has changed. Bishops are still filing appeals in order to withhold documents and settlement awards. They are still transferring priests and making all sorts of excuses about how they didn’t know, how they couldn’t have known, etc, etc. Words are hollow unless they are supported by clear, transparent action. Since we haven’t witnessed any of the latter, a lot of people have chosen to ignore the former.
Have you noticed that the bishops’ authority in this country seems to be waning? They make individual or collective statements about this or that and the general public yawns. Could it be that the bishops have lost their influence and power among the people because they’ve lost their moral compass? That moral compass was lost during the priest abuse scandal. As a group of religious leaders, they couldn’t have acted worse or fumbled so many things including reaching out to victims.
If Bishop Cupich is serious he has a lot of work to do. Before he tries to reach out to the sex abuse survivors he might want to try and reach out and poke his brother bishops. They need to wake up and treat survivors in a way that befits their Gospel values.