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Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Four ways the church can get ready for a post-Roe world

20 years after Boston Globe's 'Spotlight,' we need a national database of accused clergy

In a commentary for NCR, Barbara Thorp, former director of the Pro-Life Office and Office of Pastoral Support and Child Protection in the Boston Archdiocese, outlines the decades of work by courageous survivors and their families, dedicated journalists and publications and organizations such as Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) and Bishop Accountability. 

"The important efforts of these entities and people notwithstanding, they are all limited by the reality that they only know what they know," says Thorp. "They don't know what they don't know. The full width and breadth of the story is yet to be told and is held by the archdioceses, dioceses, eparchies and religious orders."

Thorp recalls the fearful questions from the very first meetings with survivors in 2002 during the time of the "Spotlight" investigation, which began Jan. 6 of that year. "Despite all that has happened over 20 years, those poignant questions from survivors and their families continue to hang in the air still not fully answered," she says. "Transparency, accountability, listening and simply telling the truth remain the foundation of any hope for restored trust and healing."

Read more of this commentary here.

More background:

  • See the series NCR published in 2015 for the 30th anniversary of NCR's publication of the first story by Jason Berry about admitted serial pedophile Fr. Gilbert Gauthe in the Diocese of Lafayette, Louisiana.


Four ways the church can get ready for a post-Roe world

The U.S. Supreme Court's oral arguments on the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization case has many across the nation predicting that this will be the decision that undoes Roe v. Wade as well as the 1992 decision in Casey v. Planned Parenthood, effectively returning the abortion question to each state legislature. 

"Of particular concern is the preparedness of the Catholic Church in the United States for a post-Roe world," says NCR columnist M.T. Dávila, citing the recent U.S. bishops' conference meeting in which the bishops emphasized that the mission of the church was to "surround mothers with love."

"While 'surrounding mothers with love' is certainly essential to addressing crisis pregnancies, there are a number of national-level advocacy efforts the church can and must engage in that will impact the lives of women much more effectively," Dávila writes.

Read more of Davila's commentary here.


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