NY, NJ, and the Vatican
I recently praised the archdiocese of New York for its procedures on child abuse (NY Announces 120 Clerical Abusers), noting that the list seemed accurate (SNAP had only minor complaints), and that only a handful of cases took place after the new procedures of 2002 were adopted. I also noted that rules varied by diocese, and that this praise was at least tentatively limited to NY. New Jersey has now reported its list of abusers (“Lawyers name more accused New Jersey predator priests”). This list was challenged, and looks bad.
NJ victims released a list of 300 priests accused of child abuse. 100 of these priests were not included in the official list produced earlier by the archdiocese of NJ – a huge omission. The Archdiocese of Newark, which issued the dubious list of priestly abusers, failed to address the criticisms. Instead, it effectively took the fifth, saying it will continue “to focus on transparency and accountability and to reinforcing established reporting and prevention policies and programs to protect minors and support victims.”
The fact that neighboring NY and NJ differ so starkly highlights the fact that the Vatican has left everything in the hands of local bishops. The Vatican has not attempted to enforce its putative policy of “zero tolerance." The newly released papal guidelines on abuse reinforce the Vatican’s unwillingness to put forward regulations to protect children.