Women should play a greater role in the training of priests to fight the child abuse “crisis” that has engulfed the Catholic Church, Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet has said.
More must be done within the church to tackle the root causes of the latest wave of global abuse scandals to rock the institution, said Ouellet, the prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
“We would need participation of more women in (training) of priests,” he told reporters on Saturday on the sidelines of a meeting in the Polish city of Poznan.
Better care must be taken when choosing bishops, he said, adding that more women should select candidates for the priesthood and assess their suitability for the job.
His comments at the four-day assembly of the Presidents of the Bishops’ Conferences of Europe come amid a slew of devastating assault allegations spanning several continents.
People in Australia, Europe, and North and South America have charged they were sexually abused by clergymen and lay people, in what German Archbishop Georg Gaenswein has called the church’s “own 9/11”.
“We are facing a crisis in the life of the church… And also to certain extent a rebellion,” Ouellet said.
“This is a very serious matter that has to be dealt with in a spiritual way, not only in a political way,” he said, but added that direct attacks against the pope over the scandals were “unjust”.
The US Catholic Church has been shaken by the publication of a report on sexual abuse by clergy in Pennsylvania and by the resignation in July of US Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.
Pope Francis met US bishops and cardinals on Thursday to discuss the Vatican’s response after McCarrick was accused of sexually abusing a teenager while working as a priest in New York in the early 1970s.
That meeting took place a day after Germany’s Catholic Church said it was “dismayed and ashamed” by the revelation of decades of child sex abuse by priests, with a leaked report showing that thousands of minors were assaulted.
A separate report published on Saturday said more than half of the Netherlands’ senior clerics were involved in covering up the sexual assault of children between 1945 and 2010.