Newell: The Catholic Church failed on a lot of promises in sex abuse scandal

Newell Normand
August 22, 2018 - 6:00 am

A new blockbuster report on sex abuse within the Catholic Church came out last week.  Why has this been going on for so long?

Newell Normand spoke with author and documentarian Jason Berry about Pope Francis' letter to Catholics in the wake of the sex abuse reports. Here are some of Newell's HOT TAKES:

  • When we look at any number of letters that have been written to members of the Catholic faith around the globe, they say they're going to take this seriously and do something about it and ensure the safety of our children. That didn't happen.
  • It just seems to me that there's been a lot of misdirection. I pulled these letters previous Popes wrote. There were promises made and promises broken. It was almost as if there were excuses being offered for what happened.
  • Here's one thing that Pope Benedict XVI said in a letter to the Catholics of Ireland: The programme of renewal proposed by the Second Vatican Council was sometimes misinterpreted and indeed, in the light of the profound social changes that were taking place, it was far from easy to know how best to implement it. In particular, there was a well-intentioned but misguided tendency to avoid penal approaches to canonically irregular situations. It is in this overall context that we must try to understand the disturbing problem of child sexual abuse, which has contributed in no small measure to the weakening of faith and the loss of respect for the Church and her teachings.
  • I have to be honest. I'm having difficulty squaring this up. If the Pope doesn't understand this is wrong and something should've been in place from the beginning of time and that it needed to be rooted out and dealt with, I don't get this. I can't even believe he put this in writing.
  • The truth is they've already had these investigations, and they've had these reports. They just decided to repress it. I'm not sure why there's not a rule by the Vatican that says it must be mandatory to turn over evidence of abuse to law enforcement.
  • This was a culture. This was not an anomaly. When you start thinking about the reach and breadth of this, you wonder what they were protecting themselves from. The cynics say it's all about the money and preservation of power.
  • It seems to me that the Church went about this in a business matter to preserve the business side of the Church as opposed to the spirit of the Church. And I think that's where a lot of people are having a really difficult time.

Listen to Newell's entire conversation below.

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