<msonormal$3>In both circumstances, the studies should not be led or staffed by anyone with a vested interest in the status quo or in defending the lax attitudes of the recent past – particularly in regard to sexual misconduct, heterosexual or homosexual. The study of seminaries should be run by bishops who have demonstrated an ability to reform seminaries in their pre-episcopal careers and to attract and nurture vocations by their episcopal ministry. Happily, there are a good number of such men among the younger members of the hierarchy.The study of novitiates should be run by bishops who have nurtured vocations to the consecrated life in their dioceses and who have a clear-eyed view of the current corruptions in too many religious houses of formation.
<msonormal$3>Beyond this, the bishops must do something to make unmistakably clear that they accept responsibility for the discipline of the clergy, that they are deeply sorry for the episcopal misgovernance that turned serious scandal into Church-wide crisis, and that they fully intend to pursue remedies down to the roots of the crisis in the culture of dissent.
<msonormal$3>A communal, public act of penance has been suggested. That would be no bad thing, especially if it helped drive home the point that the Dallas meeting is only the beginning of a long and difficult process of fixing what has manifestly been broken in the Church.
George Weigel is Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C. and holds EPPC’s William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Studies.
This article was originally published on The Catholic Difference