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As bishops meet this week in Baltimore, younger bishops are fighting for greater lay involvement in conducting truly independent investigations of bad bishops like Theodore McCarrick.
Laity and younger bishops like Bp. Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas and Bp. Shawn McKnight of Jefferson City, Missouri view lay involvement as a crucial aspect of carrying out truly transparent investigations that hold complicit bishops accountable for their roles in perpetrating or covering up clerical sex abuse.
"As we approach the Baltimore meeting of bishops I share what I have heard from my flock," Bp. Strickland tweeted on Friday. "'Bishop please do all you can to ensure that a strong lay voice is part of the norms and that laity have a significant role in the investigation & cleanup of this scandal' I will do so!"
As we approach the Baltimore meeting of bishops I share what I have heard from my flock. “Bishop please do all you can to ensure that a strong lay voice is part of the norms and that laity have a significant role in the investigation & cleanup of this scandal” I will do so!— Bishop J. Strickland (@Bishopoftyler) June 7, 2019
Younger bishops during their general assembly last November were pushing for laity to be assigned leading roles in redressing the crisis of homoclericalism. As compromised prelates like Cdl. Donald Wuerl, former archbishop of Washington, have been pushing for bishops to investigate themselves, Bp. McKnight was speaking up for greater lay involvement in the investigative process.
"The one overarching thing I want all of us to remember is, of course, the necessity of the laity in helping us get out of this mess," said McKnight. "I think we all believe that. We all talk about it. But unfortunately, in concrete structures, we don't actually do it."