As a restorative justice advocate and practitioner I continue to believe that only through true offender accountability in the church can victims heal and be restored, as much as possible.
How would restorative justice be applied, especially at this juncture? I believe applying restorative justice would be one necessary and critical response to these mounting abuse cases while other actions are also needed. There are many news reports and recommendations by credible sources urging a complete investigation of the Catholic Church which would include investigating whether there has been an effort to "cover up" abuse cases over many years. I do not disagree.
Yet, restorative justice is victims-driven and victims-centered with the goal of seeing survivors of crime heal. Restorative justice does not ignore the need for offenders to make things right (directly, if possible) while urging offenders to take steps to commit (to their victims) that they will change their actions in the future.
I am linking you to two documents. One is from the BBC which provides an update on the abuse scandal.
The other document is a piece I wrote here in May of 2009. Now, the need for restorative justice is more pressing than when I wrote this article and earlier articles in 2001 and 2002.
If you are led to get actively involved in seeking a way to repair the harm done in the lives of victims while urging offender accountability please contact me. If you are a victim of abuse you are encouraged to contact me as well. Many in the restorative justice movement are discussing how best to assist at this time. May we support and equip the victims on their journey hopefully towards some healing and restoration while standing firm on the side of truth and justice.