Retired Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert G. Weakland enters St. John the Evangelist Cathedral in Milwaukee during a farewell Mass for Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan, seen at left, as head of the Milwaukee Archdiocese in this 2009 photo. CNS photo/Sam Lucero

Shunning the bad shepherd

  • July 11, 2014

How should malfeasant bishops be held accountable on matters of sexual abuse? Pope Francis, in his meeting with victims of clerical sexual abuse this week, committed the Church to punishing bishops who have been negligent in removing from ministry abusive priests.

How that is to be done remains to be seen, though there have been a few high-profile resignations of bishops over mishandling sexual abuse cases — Archbishop Alphonsus Penney of St. John’s, Nfld., in 1991, or Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston in 2002.

The case of Archbishop Rembert Weakland reminds us that there are measures short of canonical ones that could be applied.

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