Canadian cardinal: Women should help screen, train priest applicants

Poznan, Poland, Sep 18, 2018 / 06:00 pm (CNA).- Increasing the role of women in screening and training priests is among the steps that should be taken to prevent future sex abuse, said Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

“We would need participation of more women in (training) of priests,” the Canadian cardinal told AFP reporters at a recent meeting of the Presidents of the Bishops’ Conferences of Europe, a four-day assembly in Poznan, Poland.

He said bishops need to be chosen more carefully and that women should have more involvement in the selection of potential priests by assessing candidates’ suitability.

“We are facing a crisis in the life of the Church,” he said. “This is a very serious matter that has to be dealt with in a spiritual way, not only in a political way.”

Ouellet’s comments come amid a string of revelations regarding allegations of sexual abuse and cover-up by clergy in several regions of the world.

In late July, Pope Francis accepted the resignation of retired Washington, D.C. Archbishop Theodore McCarrick from the College of Cardinals, and suspended him from the exercise of any public ministry, amid allegations of sexual abuse and coercion.

Last month, a Pennsylvania grand jury report found more than 1,000 allegations of abuse at the hands of some 300 clergy members in six dioceses in the state. It also found a pattern of cover-up by senior Church officials.

Recent reports of clerical abuse and cover-up have also rocked Germany, the Netherlands, Chile, and Australia in recent months.

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  1. He seems to be assuming that women are without sin, too. Women can and are often also predators. And this problem obviously isn’t just to the Church, even though that’s the long-standing association in secular minds. This abuse happens EVERYWHERE when there is someone in a position of power and someone in a position of learning and submission. Teachers, coaches, pastors.

    The big problem that I see is that because the Church is so vast and the problem has been covered up so much for so long then it’s never going to stop until something fundamental is changed in the law of the Church itself. I’m not saying that priests should be allowed to marry or something like that, where would they find the time, but I am saying that there must be some type of more rigorous screening that can be done to find these predators before they are put in a position of power over a child or vulnerable person. Background checks do NOTHING since these crimes often go unreported.

  2. Anyone other than the vetters of the last five decades…women, state troopers, retired fbi and cia, retired lawyers…all could do better than the past wisemen. I was rejected for jury duty in four Federal cases by defense lawyers because I made a citizen’s arrest. That was some trial. His defense lawyer accused me of strangling him….to which I retorted, “ In the words of a future Pope, ‘ I will not say a single word about that ‘ “.

    • “women, state troopers, retired fbi and cia, retired lawyers…all could do better than the past wisemen.”

      That’s not exactly saying much – a brain-damaged gopher could do better, judging by what we’ve read.

      It hurts me that the innocent – good priests, good bishops – are having their reputations tarnished by this.

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