In a letter to the U.S. Bishops about the sexual abuse scandals, the Pope discussed his proposed response which would focus on discernment, unity and a “change in our mind-set” (“Pope addresses sex abuse, calls for unity in letter to US bishops,” Jan. 4). That sounds interesting to say the least.
According to the dictionary, discernment means “perception in the absence of judgment with a view to obtaining spiritual direction and understanding.” Perception means “the ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses.” So far, at least in my opinion, the Pope has said absolutely nothing of any value in dealing with the problem of the sex abuse scandals. He goes on to say, “Let us try to break the vicious circle of recrimination, undercutting and discrediting, by avoiding gossip and slander in the pursuit of a path of prayerful and contrite acceptance our our limitations and sins.”
Now, can anyone tell me what the heck that means? And please, no response by bishops! They may actually understand it. This is an example of how Francis is trying to guide the church through a turbulent period? He is calling for bishops who are meeting in Rome for a summit on sexual abuse and protection of minors to submit a response that is “collegial and paternal,” which translates to me “to be nice in your response” and try not to say anything. The Pope sounds like a politician explaining something by saying nothing of any real value that in reality means anything at all dealing with the problem.
The article also stated that the Pope did not call for new measures to punish high-ranking clerics or hold them accountable. Dodging the problem again, Pope Francis? No wonder, as the Pope puts it, ”there is a growing sense of uncertainty, distrust and vulnerability among the faithful.” That includes me, and I don’t need to wonder why!
Stas Chrzanowski, Baltimore
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