Washington Post,  November 8

Pope Benedict XVI has summoned cardinals from around the world to a day-long summit in Rome next week on the clerical sex abuse scandal and other issues facing the Catholic Church, the Vatican said Monday.

The Vatican called the session “a day of reflection and prayer” that also will include discussions on threats to religious freedom, relations with other religions and procedures for disaffected Anglicans to join the Catholic Church. Five Church of England bishops announced Monday they were converting to Catholicism following Benedict’s invitation to disaffected Anglicans.

Really? Sex abuse, religious freedom, ecumenism, and Anglican ministers joining the church … all in one day? Is this just a publicity gesture? Certainly, prayerful reflection is an important tool for Catholic leaders to utilise — would that more of them had used it in the past.  But what is the point of identifying so many issues as the focus for a single day? Nothing substantial can possibly be achieved in one day, except the eliciting of agreement on already formed papal opinion. Is that what the church needs right now — more yes men?  We can’t even get a decent English translation of the New Missal. How can we expect any real growth on the issue of abuse unless the pope is willing to actually address it with meaningful investigation, prayerful reflection and input from professionals in such fields as medicine, law enforcement, psychology, psychiatry and criminal law.  And by “willing to address it” I mean a month or a couple of weeks not a couple of hours, however prayerful.