POLITICAL observations & opinions

* the “Causes and Context” report of sexual abuse by priests didn’t come close to identifying or demanding that bishops take responsibility and action … here’s my suggestion for accountability

Posted by Lew Weinstein on June 23, 2011


Dean Karen J. Terry


 Karen J. Terry, a professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at John Jay College, also serves as the college’s Associate Provost and Interim Dean of Research and Strategic Partnerships, was the principal investigator and co-author of the report …

The Causes and Context of Sexual Abuse of Minors

by Catholic Priests in the United States, 1950-2010 

DeanTerry recently wrote an article which was published in Salon defending her report against the criticism it has received, in which she said …

  • It’s time to put the record straight — and to chart a way forward so that the pattern of abuses we studied is never repeated.
  • Another fallacy contained in the early media reports included the “fact” that we did not address the problematic actions of the bishops.
  • We are confident that our study has laid the groundwork for such strategies of response by church leaders and the laity.

read her entire response at … http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2011/06/23/catholic_sex_abuse_report/index.html


I posted this comment at the Salon site …

a proposal for real accountability

  • You claim not to let the bishops off the hook.
  • Yet this quote from the Causes and Contextreport in the section headed “Oversight and Accountability”
    suggests otherwise …

“Organizational change often takes decades and requires not only “buy in” from those involved in the organization but also that changes become routine. Such changes can be achieved only through transparency in reporting and dealing with sexual abuse; with continued transparency and accountability mechanisms in place, changes can become institutionalized.”

  • With respect, what you wrote is unrelated to the question of bishop’s accountability and merely serves to delay the day of reckoning.
  • Any bishop could issue a directive TODAY that all past and present charges of sexual abuse in his diocese should be reported to him and from him to the policeIMMEDIATELY.
  • Failure to do so, the bishop’s directive might add, will, if I later learn of that failure, result in IMMEDIATE termination of all clerical responsibilities of the person or persons who ignored this directive, followed by appropriate ecclesiastic review and penalties.
  • That’s what I call management accountability.
  • It could be done today.
  • Your report and your subsequent defense of that report simply side-step the issue.



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