It is an incremental movement--baby steps, really--but growth in the right direction. Two weekend pieces reveal the promising news, first from Milenio:
Yesterday, the Mexican Bishops Conference opened dialogue with victims of sexual abuse by the founder of the Legionaries of Christ, Marcial Maciel, as its new president, Cardinal Francisco Robles Ortega, said he was willing to meet with them.
In his first press conference as president of CMS, Cardinal Robles Ortega said, "personally as president of the Bishops, of course I'm open to welcome anyone who wants to somehow approach me to see if I'm the right person to address your issues; someone might come to me thinking I'm the correct avenue, I will receive you and try to refer you to someone who may resolve your case."
Consider what a breakthrough this is, given the sway and influence that the Legion of Christ had in Mexico since its inception. Furthermore, it means that naming the problem in such a concrete way allows the Church to take ownership of a problem that previously had traction only in the secular media and courts.
Then, Nicole turns in another fine article situated around an interview with Bishop-elect Scicluna, who will be elevated to the episcopacy on November 24th. Some have wondered if his removal from the CDF was an indication that Pope Benedict had been out-manoeuvred by those who preferred the status quo (of inefficiency, obstinacy, and solidarity among the ranks of the curia):
Bishop-elect Charles Scicluna insisted he wasn't the latest casualty in the Vatican's turf battles and Machiavellian personnel intrigues. Rather, he said, his promotion to auxiliary bishop in his native Malta was simply that - "a very good" promotion - and more critically, that his hardline stance against sex abuse would remain because it's Benedict's stance as well.
"This is policy," he told The Associated Press. "It's not Scicluna. It's the pope. And this will remain."
Besides, he said laughing over tea at a cafe on Rome's posh Piazza Farnese, "If you want to silence someone, you don't make him a bishop."
Well, it does remove him from the particular seat of power that he occupied, but he has resolved to use his future authority for the good:
Scicluna insisted he not only will continue to work with the Holy See on abuse issues, but will do so now wielding the authority of a bishop, a job he considers his vocation after marking his first quarter-century as a priest last year.
"So I can tell bishops to listen to me now as a fellow bishop. That gives me in the Roman Catholic Church a qualitative leap into what I say." he said.
Near the end of her piece, Nicole includes another quote that puts the above story in perspective:
Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director of the online research center BishopAccountability.org, praised Scicluna for such tough talk and for finally bringing down Maciel. But she added: "Only in an institution as defensive and resistant to reform as the Vatican could Scicluna's modest stands for justice be seen as bold."
OK, but it is what it is. The ball has been moved, progress has been made, and that which was previously unspoken has been said publicly by the highest officials. Such is the present landscape, for which we can be grateful--esp. to those who have persevered in their quest for justice against enormous odds.
Do read both pieces, and anyone who wishes to translate the Milenio piece would be welcome. And don't forget to pray for Msgr Scicluna--and all bishops who still have a Herculean task ahead of them.