NCR Says No to Trial Balloon

As previously noted (New Trial Balloon for Papal Sex Abuse Commission), the Vatican floated the idea of omitting abuse victims from the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, the advisory council Pope Francis created to deal with the sex abuse crisis. National Catholic Reporter (NCR) just called the Vatican proposal “distressing” and said the Commission “is in danger of becoming irrelevant” (here). They also provide a history of the Commission. While they claim the Commission “has helped the church make great strides in addressing this global issue,” they provide no evidence of this. Instead, their history is a series of problems.

In one case, there was a recommendation for a special tribunal to try bishops for “abuse of office” – that is, gross negligence in handling abusive priests. While this proposal was initially approved, it was rejected by the Vatican two years later. This is the closest the commission has come to making substantive progress.

The Commission was an attempt to buy time in the hope that the problem would fade away. It has not. While NCR says the Commission “is in danger of becoming irrelevant,” I think it was designed that way. When the abuse victims on the Committee tried to make it relevant, they were given short shrift, and the Vatican tried to replace them with rubber stamps.


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