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Bishops Need To Redeem Themselves

January 6, 2019

Editor: During my formative years of education at Catholic schools, whenever a student was in trouble, the sisters would say, “Now how are you going to redeem yourself?” They didn’t want a lip service response. They wanted an action plan, written down, attested to and signed. Since the clergy sex abuse scandal has eroded the credibility of the Catholic Church, the U.S. bishops need to redeem themselves. Pope Francis says the cause of the sexual abuse crisis is clericalism. Clericalism is the political power of the clergy. It subverts Christianity, which holds that priests are servants of the laity and not the other way around. The practice of restorative justice is a way of dealing with wrongdoings and violations of social trust. The U.S. bishops could redeem themselves by taking on an action plan and fulfilling it: solving the migrant crisis. It is an action that goes beyond retreats, documents on racism and encyclicals. We don’t want anymore documents; we want results. First, a new bishop would have to be appointed to replace the ineffective Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Houston as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Second, the bishops would have to put down their costumes and replace them with boots on the ground. Catholic Relief Services is already in place at the border — stressed to the limit. If the U.S. bishops truly want to restore credibility to the flock, working alongside the laity as equal partners in solving the migrant crisis would exhibit restorative justice and wipe out clericalism. Joanne Dahms DUPONT

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