For my part, considering the gravity of these offences, and the often inadequate response to them on the part of the ecclesiastical authorities in your country, I have decided to write this Pastoral Letter to express my closeness to you and to propose a path of healing, renewal and reparation.
It is true, as many in your country have pointed out, that the problem of child abuse is peculiar neither to Ireland nor to the Church. Nevertheless, the task you now face is to address the problem of abuse that has occurred within the Irish Catholic community, and to do so with courage and determination. No one imagines that this painful situation will be resolved swiftly. Real progress has been made, yet much more remains to be done. Perseverance and prayer are needed, with great trust in the healing power of God’s grace.
Now I’m a fan of this Pope, let me just say that up front…
But in reading this letter I find three things to be seriously wanting. First of all, I don’t think that in this instance a mere letter suffices as a response. A trip to Ireland to sit and listen to those who were abused and to work feverishly together to draft some kind of response and for the Pope and those who worked on this to emerge TOGETHER and publicize their response for healing would have been quite a symbol.
Seriously, somebody make me the Vatican PR director.
The second thing is that the Pope has the audacity to “propose a path of healing, renewal and reparation” when honestly, trust hasn’t been established again. How is anyone in Ireland supposed to take that plan seriously?
Lastly, the Pope writes that “the task you now face is to address the problem of abuse that has occurred within the Irish Catholic community.”
Um, one article needs to be changed in that paragraph and that is namely that this is “a task WE as church need to face (the problem of abuse within the Irish Catholic community). This totally reads like “Hey it’s an Irish problem, you deal with it.” The Pope needs to realize that nobody trusts the Catholic community in Ireland and if left to their own devices here nothing is going to be settled without a huge mess. It should be the Pope’s job right now to mediate this divide with the people who are responsible and with those that are abused and then get THEM to agree on reparations and forgiveness.
It’s not his fault this happened but it’s the price of being Pope. We need a Captain on the deck of this ship and not one writing a letter from his office. The Pope means well, to be sure and I believe his intentions are good but I think in this case, he needs to go a bit farther.