The Catholic Church's failure to address and fix the widespread problem of sexual abuse in its ranks has left the reputation of its hierarchy "shredded," Bishop Daniel Conlon told staffers.
Conlon, who chaired the bishops' Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People, said it was an "illusion" to believe the church could repair its credibility by implementing new policies on child protection while doing "some decent publicity."
Conlon was quoted in a speech he gave in August to a conference of staffers who oversee child safety programs in American dioceses in an article in the Aug. 30 edition of Origins, according to the Religion News Service.
The situation is akin to the Reformation, when "the episcopacy, the regular clergy, even the papacy were discredited," he said.
That said, staffers could be key to slowly turning things around, he's quoted as saying in the news service story.
"You may have a better chance. People -- in the church, outside the church, and hanging on the edge -- need to know that real progress is being made."