The long arm of the law seems to be the current instrument by which God is cleansing His Church of homosexual predators and complicit clergy.
Lawmen are no longer trusting bishops to open their secret archives containing documents that incriminate clerical sex abusers. This is shown by the recent raid on the archdiocese of Sante Fe and the raid on the archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. The latter one netted three computers belonging its archbishop, Cdl. Daniel DiNardo, who also happens to be the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. In addition to the computers, two boxes labeled "sexual allegation files" were also seized.
Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon, who was involved in the raid on DiNardo's archdiocese, said Catholics are backing efforts by law enforcement to hold Church leaders accountable. At a press conference Nov. 28, Ligon remarked, "People cooperate because there are so many lay Catholics out there that are ready for the Church to come clean."
Ligon added, "I am a lay Catholic myself, but today I stand here as the district attorney of Montgomery County."
The same day as Texas Rangers were helping to raid DiNardo's archdiocese, New Mexico's law enforcement were conducting a raid on the archdiocese of Santa Fe. It turns out that the attorney general's office had requested documents from Church officials in the three dioceses of New Mexico some months prior to conducting the raid on Sante Fe. This is but more evidence that bishops can't be trusted to investigate themselves, contrary to the proposal of Cdl. Blase Cupich, the archbishop of Chicago.
Cupich, along with other prelates in Illinois, are also being accused by the state's attorney general, Lisa Madigan, of not being as transparent and forthcoming with documentation pertaining to credible allegations of priestly sex abuse. In a Nov. 29 statement, Madigan revealed, "Our initial review has found the number of Catholic clergy in Illinois with credible allegations of sexual abuse against minors is more extensive than the Church previously has disclosed to the public."
In spite of the raids by law enforcement and statements by investigators confirming that dioceses are not handing over confidential documents in a trustworthy manner, prelates like Cupich continue to push the idea that bishops should investigate themselves.
Watch the panel discuss how bishops are facing new norms of transparency and accountability in The Download—Raid After Raid.