Fr James Connell, of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, had a thought on the recently exposed massive child abuse perpetrated by priests and bishops of the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania.
Civil governments must take the lead, as was done in Pennsylvania, and do what the church won’t do. Many more grand juries need to be impaneled and empowered to find and declare the truth. Without truth, there can be no justice, and without justice, there will be no healing.
Take the lead? Maybe yes, maybe no. Certainly, civil authority must deal with the secular crime aspect of this.
However, the Church must act too, not just write pretty letters. The priests who committed these atrocities should, at the least, be removed from the priesthood and sent to isolated monasteries to contemplate their sins and set about atoning for them. The Bishops and Cardinals who covered up the priests’ atrocities should be excommunicated; they did monstrous evil. They lied and covered up the heinous sins of the priests: they abandoned those children, and they helped sell the souls of the priests to Satan.
Only the Church can exact those consequences. Forgive these thugs (with apologies to thuggery)? Of course, even (especially) the Bishops and Cardinals. But forgiveness neither demands forgetting nor obviates punishment. Without punishment in addition to the truth, there can be no justice, and without justice, there will be no healing. And if we forget, these crimes will happen again.