A month before the start of a global summit in Rome on the sex abuse crisis, a prominent church historian and theologian said last week that the issue poses the biggest challenge to the church in 500 years.
Many symbols of Catholicism have changed, receded, or even disappeared, to be replaced by others. But not the Catholic priest. The church’s presence in education, culture, and social work may not be as visible as it once was, but the priest’s role remains conspicuous. When most people think of Catholicism, they still think of a man in a Roman collar.
At a time when the U.S. bishops are in the crosshairs of scrutiny and scorn over their handling of clerical sexual abuse, psychologist Thomas Plante admits that at times he is viewed as a shill for them when he lays out the facts of the U.S. clerical abuse landscape since the prelates’ high-profile 2002 gathering in Dallas.