Clericalism root of abuse crisis Title: Clericalism cited as root of sex abuse crisis Author: Sarah Salvadore Publication: National Catholic Reporter Date: 04FEB2020
In a Jan. 29 talk at Villanova University in Pennsylvania, Jesuit Fr. Hans Zollner said that clericalism is the root cause of the damage done to the church and called out past systemic failure in reporting, punishing and stopping abuse.
“There is general mistrust and suspicion on cardinals and bishops. This is not just happening in U.S. and Australia — the level of trust on bishops is below zero. And this has devastated an institution that is built on trust and faith,” he said. Zollner, a professor of psychology and president of the Center for Child Protection, at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, spoke as part of a series examining the sex abuse crisis. Zollner spoke on the situation of the church across the globe. According to Zollner, the turning point that brought about recent reform for the church came with Pope Francis’ 2018 visit to Chile. Francis threw his papacy in turmoil when he accused victims of slandering accused Bishop Juan Barros and called it “calumny.” “It created a huge uproar and criticism of the pope. But he saw the point and appointed Cardinal Charles Scicluna to look into the matter. He then apologized to the victims,” said Zollner. After the staggering story of abuse and cover-up that then emerged from Chile, all sitting bishops there resigned. “For me this was the turning point. How he [Francis] looked at the abuse crisis. What’s new, is the system/institution taking responsibility. This wasn’t there three years ago,” said Zollner. The report from Chile underlined the systemic failures in dealing with, reporting, punishing and stopping abuse. Zollner said the clergy often thought of themselves as being above the law, while the victims found themselves without support and dealing with shame, guilt and loss of faith.For more information visit: https://www.ncronline.org/news/accountability/clericalism-cited-root-sex-abuse-crisis