Has the Pope Done Enough?

The Rev. James Martin, S.J., is a Jesuit priest, and is the culture editor of America, the national Catholic magazine. Father Martin graduated from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business in 1982, where he received a bachelor's degree in finance. After working for six years in corporate finance and human resources with General Electric Co., he entered the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) in 1988. On Nov. 1, 2009, he pronounced his final vows as a Jesuit.

Father Martin is the author of several books, the latest of which is called "The Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything." His bestselling memoir "My Life with the Saints" was named one of the "Best Books of 2006" by Publishers Weekly. He also wrote "A Jesuit Off-Broadway: Center Stage with Jesus, Judas and Life's Big Questions," which was named one of Publishers Weekly's "Best Books of 2007."
  • Transcript

TRANSCRIPT

Question: Has the Pope done enough to address the abuse scandal?

James Martin: I think he has really started to do some really important things. His visit to the United States was historic and really unprecedented.  I think though there is always more that can be done for the sex abuse crisis.  In 2002 the US bishops met in Dallas to formulate their zero tolerance policy, which I think was necessary, but I think that the clerical culture that gave rise to that. The sex abuse crisis, which is essentially a few very sick men who were moved around from parish to parish by some bishops for fear of quote, unquote, causing scandal--that’s more of a cultural type thing.  I think that needs to be addressed, so I think what the church needs to do is to have a culture of much more transparency. Frankly when these guys do these things they need to be kicked out. And in the United States that has already happened, so I don’t think you’ll see it in the United States.  You might hear reports of ones that happened in the 60s and 70s, but going ahead there is this zero tolerance policy.  I think other countries are starting to realize now what needs to be done.  It really needs to be just sort of taken out root and branch and blamed on the right sources.  It has nothing to do with celibacy.  It has nothing to do with gay clergy, anything like that.  Neither of those two things lead to pedophilia.  It has to do I think with this culture of secrecy and the wrongheaded notion that we shouldn’t quote, unquote, cause scandal by revealing some of these things, so I hope the Catholic church really takes the lead in showing other organizations about this, because you know I mean most sex abuse takes place in families.  You know there is sex abuse in schools.  There is sex abuse in children’s organizations like the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts, so I think that the Catholic Church has an opportunity here to really take the lead and be in the vanguard of preventing children from being abused.

Recorded on March 26, 2010


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