Another diocese has made a record settlement of their sexual abuse cases. These always leave me sad. The victims know and express that the money satisfies neither their spiritual desire for apology and reconciliation, nor their more base desire for punishment. Dioceses become more broke, and it's the people in the pew who will suffer.
But what I really worry about is whether a deeper conversion will happen within our leadership. Certainly we now have better safeguards and systems of certification, but it's my belief that clerical sexual abuse is only the violent, criminal and tragic tip of the larger iceberg of spiritual malaise and other troubles in the clerical culture and men's religious life. (I can't speak for the women.)
Money settlements for the sake of damages and better institutional systems for protecting children are one thing. And I believe they will help prevent the abuse that is so damaging to the lives of victims. But what we really need is a conversion of heart. And I mean we the clerics of the Church.