Here is another example of why the Scandal is not “history,” as Bishop Wilton Gregory now famously proclaimed. Archbishop Alex Brunett of Seattle is being criticized for saying clergy sex abuse is an old problem and that kids won’t molested in the future. He’s disbanding his review board, stonewalling on releasing reports, minimizing criticism, and squelching potentiallu unflattering analyses of his leadership in this area.
One of the big areas of concern is that Brunett refuses to publicly name seven priests accused of abuse and suspended from ministry while their cases are being reviewed by the Vatican. The review board says the names should come out so that other possible victims can come forward, but the archdiocese is reluctant to release the names in case the priests are innocent. Yet at least one of these priests has been determined by the review board to have engaged in “egregious” conduct toward children, i.e. credible evidence of abuse, yet has been seen celebrating Mass, despite his suspension.
The continuing impulse of the most bishops is to declare the Scandal over, the problem solved by new policies and committees, and return to business as usual. But like I’ve been saying all along, until the bishops hold one another accountable, until those who shuffled the abusers about in the first place or who obfuscated to protect those who did are called on the carpet, then the Scandal is not over, the situation has not been rectified.