May the Global Church Discover ‘Light from the Southern Cross’

Leaked Light Southern Cross

Title: May the Global Church Discover ‘Light from the Southern Cross’

Author: Richard R. Gaillardetz

Publisher: Catholic Outlook with permission from La Croix International.

Date: 04JUN2020

Review and analysis of “potentially groundbreaking document” on Church governance

As the entire world struggles with the challenges, tragedies, and constraints imposed by the current COVID-19 pandemic, the Catholic Church finds itself in the midst of an altogether different kind of global pandemic, one of a distinctly spiritual and ecclesial nature, the clerical sexual abuse scandal.

Although its import is certainly not as dire, the spiritual life and credibility of the Church are at stake. This, too, is a pandemic of global dimensions and, sadly, there is no vaccine on the horizon.

No, this pandemic must be addressed with a kind of comprehensive, ecclesial hygiene: unflinching ecclesial self-reflection and patient, courageous ecclesial reform.

The Church of Australia has been one of this ecclesial pandemic’s most public hotspots. Sadly, it was not the Church’s own vigilance that brought the pain and scope of the scandal to light, but a government mandated Royal Commission charged with investigating child sexual abuse in Australia.

That commission’s report directed sweeping criticisms at the Catholic Church of Australia. It called on the Church to address a series of problems, principal among which was the systemic, institutional failures in Church governance and management structures. The commission was convinced that these were a major contributing factor in the scourge of clerical sexual abuse.

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) and Catholic Religious of Australia (CRA) instituted the Implementation Advisory Group to respond to the Royal Commission Report.

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