Please join us in a quick little experiment
Feel like playing along with a little experiment?
How would you do it? Here’s our recipe.
First, we’d appoint only Catholics. More insularity in an institution that’s been insular for centuries can’t help.
Second, we’d pick only men. More male dominance in an institution that’s been dominated by men for centuries can’t help.
Third, we’d tap only ordained clerics. More clerics in an institution that’s been crippled by clericalism for centuries can’t help.
Fourth, we’d appoint high-ranking clerics. More men who’ve risen to the top in an institution in which clergy sex crimes and cover ups have been rampant for centuries can’t help.
OK, let’s be reasonable. For the sake of ‘credibility,’ we’d pick one panel member – just one – who is NOT a priest or bishop.
But remember, our goal is to make sure the panel is completely unproductive.
So fifth, instead of picking an expert on abuse, we’d pick an Average Catholic Joe, with no particular experience or training or education on abuse. Less knowledge about the possible causes or cures for the crisis can’t help.
Sixth, we’d pick men who are already super-busy. Having little time to really address the crisis can’t help.
Finally, we’d throw in a former papal spokesman. Yet another guy in the room who has spent years ‘spinning’ this crisis can’t help.
Now, we apologize for our deceit. What we’ve just described is no experiment. It’s exactly what Pope Francis has done.
He’s created yet another abuse panel – one more added to the hundreds that have existed for decades in the church. And its composition alone almost guarantees its ineffectiveness.
Don’t take our word for it. At the bottom, we’ve provided a list of the panel members and a link from a Catholic publication that gives you all the details.
Down the road, we at Horowitz Law may make more observations about this new panel. But for now, we submit that all you need to know about the new papal abuse committee can be summed up in one sentence: It’s eight, hand-picked Catholic guys, seven of whom are already-very-busy big shot clerics.
Looking for change? Don’t hold your breath.
(Think we’re being too hard on the pontiff? Listen then, to a mainstream Catholic journalist, Inez San Martin’s added take on the panel:
First, all the people appointed have highly demanding jobs already, and they’re not giving them up anytime soon.
(Most) have strong ties with the Roman Curia, meaning the Church’s central government.
Despite the fact that an estimated 40 percent of cases of clerical abuse currently being studied in the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith come from Latin America (but) only one member comes from this part of the world.
Africa is the region where the Catholic Church is growing most rapidly, there are no Africans on the team.)
THE PANEL (according to Crux): Maltese Archbishop Charles Scicluna, German Father Hans Zollner, Venezuelan Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra; Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago; Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai, Father Federico Lombardi (former papal spokesman for both Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis) and Andrew Azzopardi (a college professor).