Prominent US Catholic woman [Christendom College board chair]: abuse crisis will end when laity demand bishop accountability

Maike Hickson

Prominent US Catholic woman [Christendom College board chair]: abuse crisis will end when laity demand bishop accountability

WASHINGTON D.C., September 6, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) –  A Catholic lawyer who serves as the chairman of Christendom College’s board of directors has stated that the only way to “drive out this evil” of the sexual abuse crisis rocking the Catholic Church is for laity to “demand” accountability from bishops. If bishops refuse to be accountable, they must be pressured to “resign.”

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Donna Bethell.

“We laity also need to demand immediately that every Bishop tell us what he knows,” said Donna Bethell in comments she made to LifeSiteNews in the capacity of a concerned Catholic. Bethell was the undersecretary in the U.S. Department of Energy from 1988 to 1989.

“Every Bishop needs to admit whatever sexual activity he has committed with minors or adults of either sex. Every Bishop must admit to any cover-up activity he has committed, including moving priests around or putting them back in ministry without telling parishioners about their records of abuse. He must report any legal settlements and payments and release victims from confidentiality agreements,” she said.

“And if a Bishop knows of abusive or cover-up activity by another Bishop, then he needs to follow our Lord’s instructions and call that Bishop privately to admit it or resign. If the Bishop refuses, then the Church must be told. Any Bishop who will not make a statement must resign,” she added.

Bethell is married to Tom Bethell, a journalist and book author who was for more than 30 years a senior editor of the American Spectator. She has made in the past some strong defenses of Catholic doctrine and morals on radio and TV. In 2012, she came into the news for supporting the Vatican’s doctrinal assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR).

Bethell’s comments come in the wake of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report which highlighted the abuse of hundreds of priests on mostly male victims. Her comments also come in the wake of the testimony of Archbishop Viganò who accused Pope Francis of covering up for now ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick despite having detailed knowledge of his abuse of priests and seminarians.

“We don’t need investigations by Bishops or the Vatican. The Vatican can’t even investigate itself. We need Attorney General grand jury investigations in the 49 other states and the District of Columbia. There is no way that Pennsylvania is an anomaly,” she said.

She also pointed a figure at the USCCB for not admitting that the driver of the clergy abuse scandal is primarily homosexuality.

“And the USCCB must finally admit that the overwhelming problem is homosexuality that must be driven without exception from the seminaries and priesthood,” she said.

LifeSiteNews is pleased to share Bethell’s full comments below.

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Donna Bethell’s personal thoughts on the current crisis in the Church

Sept. 6, 2018

We have seen for more than 50 years a concurrent corruption of morals, doctrine, and liturgy. And those few who were courageous and faithful enough to say so were denigrated, laughed at, and declared schismatics. Consider Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.

For several weeks I have been posting on comboxes and emailing friends the following.

We don’t need investigations by Bishops or the Vatican. The Vatican can’t even investigate itself. We need Attorney General grand jury investigations in the 49 other states and the District of Columbia. There is no way that Pennsylvania is an anomaly.

We laity also need to demand immediately that every Bishop tell us what he knows. Every Bishop needs to admit whatever sexual activity he has committed with minors or adults of either sex. Every Bishop must admit to any cover-up activity he has committed, including moving priests around or putting them back in ministry without telling parishioners about their records of abuse. He must report any legal settlements and payments and release victims from confidentiality agreements. And if a Bishop knows of abusive or cover-up activity by another Bishop, then he needs to follow our Lord’s instructions and call that Bishop privately to admit it or resign. If the Bishop refuses, then the Church must be told. Any Bishop who will not make a statement must resign.

We laity must demand this from the Bishops. We don’t need committees or investigations for this, just a website listing the names of all Bishops and any statements made. It will be obvious who needs to resign. Then we stay in their faces about it, showing up at any public appearance, writing letters, getting stories in newspapers, hounding them until they finally begin to do the right thing. That is the only way to drive out this evil. The people of Constantinople rioted against the Arians. Good idea.

Maybe only a few Bishops will respond. Maybe none. But we will know that they were asked and refused. We will know where they stand as individuals. Otherwise they will hide in the anonymity of the USCCB.
And the USCCB must finally admit that the overwhelming problem is homosexuality that must be driven without exception from the seminaries and priesthood.

I would like to mention here that the only other idea I have seen remotely like this came last week from Bishop Athanasius Schneider:

Ruthlessness and transparency in detecting and in confessing the evils in the life of the Church will help to initiate an efficient process of spiritual and moral purification and renewal. Before condemning others, every clerical office holder in the Church, regardless of rank and title, should ask himself in the presence of God, if he himself had in some way covered sexual abuses. Should he discover himself guilty, he should confess it publicly, for the Word of God admonishes him: “Be not ashamed to acknowledge your guilt” (Sir 4:26). For, as Saint Peter, the first Pope, wrote, “the time has come for the judging, starting with the house (the church) of God” (1 Peter 4:17).

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