The Promotor of Justice of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Monsignor Charles J. Scicluna, spoke at the “Towards Healing and Renewal” symposium yesterday. Titled “The Quest for Truth in Sexual Abuse Cases: A Moral and Legal Duty”, his address dealt with the “honest quest for the truth and for justice,” much according to the words that Pope Pius XII spoke in 1942: “Truth is the law of justice. The world has need of that truth which is justice, and of that justice which is truth.”
Msgr. Scicluna was abundantly clear about how the Church must face the abuse crisis: in a fully open and honest search for the truth. This openness translates in what is perhaps one of the most bare-bones and blunt descriptions of what went wrong and what must be done. Below are some choice quotes to illustrate this.
“[A] deadly culture of silence or “omertà” is in itself wrong and unjust. Other enemies of the truth are the deliberate denial of known facts and the misplaced concern that the good name of the institution should somehow enjoy absolute priority to the detriment of legitimate disclosure of crime.”
Well, we’ve all seen this happen in the past, be it intentional or not.
“The acknowledgment and recognition of the full truth of the matter in all its sorrowful effects and consequences is at the source of true healing for both victim and perpetrator.”
“The law may indeed be clear. But this is not enough for peace and order in the community. Our people need to know that the law is being applied.”
That is a responsibility that lies with the bishops, superiors and prelates of the Church who apply canon law. The law itself must not only be known, but also been seen to be put into practice.
“No strategy for the prevention of child abuse will ever work without commitment and accountability.”
We not only have to be willing to do what must be done to prevent child abuse, but we must also, always, take our responsibility. Following the above line, Msgr. Scicluna quotes from the pope’s letter to the Catholics of Ireland, in which the Holy Father exhorts the bishops of that country to “renew [their] sense of accountability before God, to grow in solidarity with [their] people and to deepen [their] pastoral concern for all the members of [their] flock.”
By all means, read Msgr. Scicluna’s entire address via the link above. It gives an idea that there are people in the Curia who know what must be done and who, God willing, can help steer the Church in the direction she needs to go.