Last week, following the Shanley sentencing, USA Today editorialized on how the Church’s “progress” was lagging. What kind of progress do they want? “Accountability, transparency, and a genuine spirit of change.”
On one level, I agree. I would rather see more emphasis from the bishops on the need for increased holiness, a return to clerical discipline, new emphasis on the Mass and other sacraments, a turning away from worldliness to a simplicity of life of detachment, rather than the continuing stream of policies, procedures, and reports that we get, as if the Scandal could be handled with a corporate reorganization. After Friday’s audit report showed another 1,000+ accusations made against priests last year, a friend noted that while we’re teaching grandmothers and little kids about “good touching,” bad priests are still out there doing “bad touching.”
But I don’t think that’s all that USA Today and their media confreres have in mind when they speak of progress. Yes, they rightly note that some bishops are backsliding into old patterns of behavior, but we have to be careful of going too far in the opposite direction.