The November 14 editorial »The sins of the fathersraised serious concerns about the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church and the difficulty of reforming Church practices to deal with this scourge quickly and justly.
Without tangible reforms, many Catholics, like me, will seek other religious communities.
The church faces a crisis of lack of trust in leaders, especially bishops who lead local dioceses. Bishops work with little or no real oversight.
Pope Francis could impose term limits for bishops, perhaps 10 years. A regular change of leadership would provide a natural independent review of diocesan operations and the management of priests and other staff. Additionally, no bishop should lead a diocese where he has served as a priest to ensure that the bishop has true independence and will not be influenced by past friendships.
It is time for the Church to get rid of the practices and rituals that alienate the bishops from the people. Pope Francis would be wise to revise the trappings and medieval practices of bishops. Unfortunately, many aspects of being a bishop are far removed from the simple example of Jesus. Living simply and humbly will lead to greater credibility and respect for the bishop’s authority.
No set of reforms will completely rid the church of the criminal sexual behavior of some priests. However, fundamental changes in the leadership of the Church must be at the center of Pope Francis’ concerns if he is to restore the Roman Catholic Church as the primary teacher of gospel truths.
Thomas H. Powell, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.