Time for a Reform-Minded Pope to Reform a Church in Tatters

Written by Ralph E. Stone. Posted in Opinion, Religion

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Published on March 12, 2013 with 4 Comments

Cardinal Angelo Scola.

Cardinal Angelo Scola.

By Ralph E. Stone

March 12, 2013

With the surprise announcement of Pope Benedict’s resignation and the present selection of a new pope, it is equally surprising that the mainstream media has not included a discussion of the widespread allegations of sexual child abuse by Catholic clergy or the coverup by church officials.

study conducted by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice found that 10,669 allegations of child sexual abuse were reported to church officials in the U.S. alone between 1950 and 2002.

Similar crimes have occurred in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Ireland, Italy, and elsewhere.  And according to a complaint filed by The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) on behalf of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) before the International Criminal Court, between 1981 and 2005, there are more than 100,000 sexual abuse victims.

The CCR complaint alleges that Vatican officials, including then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, ignored information that subordinates were committing these crimes and engaged in a widespread coverup of such abuse.  The complaint alleges that since 1981, when then Cardinal Ratzinger headed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, he had primary responsibility for dealing with the clergy sex crimes.  His refusal to decisively address the epidemic – and discipline Church officials who protected predator priests – was exacerbated when he became Pope.

There is some speculation that his resignation was to avoid criminal prosecution.

The reputation of the Catholic Church is in tatteres.  Surely, the cardinals must choose a reformer, someone like Cardinal Angelo Scola to clean up the mess left behind by Pope Benedict.  The status quo just won’t do.  The future of the Catholic Church is at stake.

Ralph E. Stone

I was born in Massachusetts; graduated from Middlebury College and Suffolk Law School; served as an officer in the Vietnam war; retired from the Federal Trade Commission (consumer and antitrust law); travel extensively with my wife Judi; and since retirement involved in domestic violence prevention and consumer issues.

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Comments for Time for a Reform-Minded Pope to Reform a Church in Tatters are now closed.

  1. Job one?

    Get a new butler.


  2. As the whole world now knows, Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected Pope (Pope Francis) today. Clearly, the cardinals saw him as a safe, compromise choice. He holds traditional Catholic Church views otherwise he would not have been elected. That is, he opposes abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality, same-sex marriage, adoption by gays and lesbians, and contraception.

    He was criticized by human rights activists for not openly confronting the terrorism by the Argentine dictatorship in the 1970s that was kidnapping and killing thousands of people as it sought to eliminate “subversive elements.”

    How will he deal with the various scandals, including pedophile priests, blackmail and money laundering allegations (the “Vatileaks” incident), facing the Catholic Church? Will he sweep them under the rug or institute real reform? I suspect the former, not the latter, but only time will tell.

    The larger question is whether the Catholic Church has become too rich, powerful, and corrupt. If so, perhaps the Pope should cede all the church holdings to the poor and resume the church’s mission in poverty. Is this likely? A resounding “no.”

  3. “Scola to clean up the mess left behind by Pope Benedict.” ? ? ?

    Late Breaking News . . .

    Article: ‘Papal conclave: anti-mafia police raid offices in diocese of frontrunner’
    Source: The Guardian – UK


    “But even as preparations for the mass were being made, Cardinal Angelo Scola, the archbishop of Milan – and reportedly the hot favourite to be the next pope – suffered a

    Anti-mafia detectives swooped on homes, offices, clinics and hospitals in Lombardy, the region around Milan, and elsewhere. A statement said the dawn raids were part of an
    investigation into “corruption linked to tenders by, and supplies to, hospitals”.

    Scola’s candidacy has been overshadowed by his past links to a movement that has been linked with pervasive sleaze in Lombardy. By the time Formigoni dissolved the regional assembly last year, 13 members of the governing majority were under
    investigation, suspected of offences ranging from taking bribes to incitement to violence.”

  4. This list is not for the popemobile chasers:
    Over 20,000 have viewed this list of 174 accused clerics