As Catholic scandal continues to grow in Europe, US Bishops have ‘quietly reinstated’ abusive priests

The Pope is playing the victim card. He’s the one being tested:

Pope Benedict XVI sees the priestly sex scandal as a “test for him and the church,” his spokesman says, as bishops around Europe used Holy Week’s solemn call for penitence to pledge transparency in dealing with the abuse of children.

But amid such signs of humility, a senior cleric also mounted a sharp counterattack to the allegations now swirling around the papacy. In an article, the official accused The New York Times of faulting the pope unfairly for his treatment of past abuse allegations.

Oh, yes, the poor, poor Pope. But, this isn’t new. Church leaders have known about this problem for over 50 years.

Before anyone starts feeling sorry for the Pope (not that I think any AMERICAblog readers will), check out this report from NPR. American bishops are sending priests accused of abuse back to work. The report notes the case of Rev. Eric Swearingen, who was accused of abuse in a case that was settled by the Diocese. Now, with the support of his Bishop, Swearingen “serves as priest at Holy Spirit parish in Fresno, where he also oversees the youth ministry.” :

Swearingen’s case is not an isolated one, says Anne Barrett Doyle, who works with the watchdog group She says that recently, bishops have started quietly returning to ministry priests who previously have been accused of abuse.

“I think they feel that the crisis has died down in the public mind,” she says. “Therefore, they have some confidence that if they go ahead and reinstate these priests, that they’ll get very little backlash.”

Doyle and others have identified about a dozen clergy who have been accused, arrested or sued for abuse and returned to ministry. She says the process for investigating priests is secret, and often the diocese says nothing about the charges against a priest when it returns him to ministry.

Nothing has changed. The Catholic Bishops are doing what they’ve done for decades. Decades. I get that there are fewer and fewer priests around, but that the Catholic Bishops are allowing this undermines any remaining shred of their credibility.

These Catholic leaders have no moral authority. None.

On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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