Saturday, May 1, 2010

Keep the Faith

His Excellency Bishop Joseph C. Bambera has been installed as the tenth Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Scranton.

His first official act came Wednesday at the St. Vincent DePaul Soup Kitchen in Wilkes-Barre as he dined with those who depend on the kitchen for their daily meal.

It was a noble gesture. He seems like the right man for the job at the right time.

Despite the enthusiasm that has surrounded his Ordination; the new Bishop has much work to do to heal the wounds of the many who feel their Church has abandoned them.

Much of the heavy lifting (the closings of schools and parishes) was done by Bishop Joseph Martino, his predecessor.

Two key issues remain; the unionization of Catholic school teachers and the abuse of children by priests.

I expect that Bishop Bambera, who has already opened dialogue with the teachers, will recognize their union and their right to bargain collectively. That will come with a price. The Diocese will most likely close additional schools as a result.

The priest abuse scandal now rocking the Vatican is far from over in this Diocese.

An examination of the cases that have been made public in the Scranton diocese shows a common thread. There is one Catholic school that links many of the abusers. I have long suspected that there are many more cases of abuse that have not been reported publicly and are linked to the school.

Until the Bishop releases details of the abuses and the official actions taken by the Diocese, there is no way to restore trust.

Bishop Bambera it is time to actively pursue abusers. Do not wait for an accusation to wind its way through the Church bureaucracy. Be aggressive.

It won’t be easy. It won’t be pleasant.

But as a new Bishop takes office, it will be the only way to, “keep the faith.”

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