Framing the sex abuse crisis in light of ecclesiology and church reform by Massimo Faggioli

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Every major crisis in church history has redefined some aspects of the relationship between the center and the periphery

It is still too soon to know how Pope Francis will be remembered for his handling of the Catholic Church’s crisis of clergy sex abuse of minors. His pontificate is currently embroiled in what continues to be the phenomenon’s most difficult moment.

The pope’s legacy on this issue will not be judged only by the credibility of his personal intentions, but even more by his and the church’s ability to deal with the most serious calamity in the history of contemporary Catholicism.

Some things depend on him, other do not. For instance, Francis renewed the mandate of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors on Feb. 17 by re-confirming half of its original members and appointing several new people to this advisory body. But the commission is only one of many initiatives that needs to be implemented – and it needs to be effective.

The pope was asked about the abuse scandal last month during a meeting with a group of Jesuits in Peru. In the conversation, translated and published by La Civiltà Cattolica, he called the abuse scandal “a great humiliation” for the Catholic Church.

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