Bishop Shawn McKnight: “It is Almost Unbearable”
“How could a brother bishop disrespect with such callousness the dignity of young boys, seminarians and priests over decades and no one called him on the carpet?”
Another bishop has spoken out against the McCarrick crimes and against the clerical culture which allowed them to go on. Bishop Shawn McKnight, bishop of Jefferson City, Missouri, minced no words when he wrote in the Catholic Missourian:
“It is almost unbearable. How could a brother bishop disrespect with such callousness the dignity of young boys, seminarians and priests over decades and no one called him on the carpet?
It is inexplicable to me. This cannot continue, and I hope with God's grace there will be a change of culture among the clergy.”
Looking ahead to the November General Assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bishop McKnight pledged to do everything he could to make the process of handling the accusations of bishops more transparent and effective. “As successors to the Apostles,” he said,
“we bishops are called to be priests, prophets and shepherds who practice in action what we preach in words. May God help us to be faithful to Jesus in fulfilling our obligations as bishops.”
He asked that Catholic laypersons and clergy, as we accompany each other in this dark moment of the Church's history, lift up in prayer those who bear responsibility for fixing what is broken, to heal the wounds of the Church.
Bishop McKnight, 50, was ordained to the episcopacy just six months ago, but he bringsto the position a wealth of relevant experience. He taught at the Pontifical College Josephinum, where his responsibilities included a term as dean of students (2004-2006) and as director of formation (2006-2007). For five years, from 2010 until 2015, he served as director of the USCCB’s Secretariat on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations which provides leadership regarding priestly life and ministry, and responds to the needs of priests. In that role, his areas of concern included the role of presbyteral councils, preaching, several public concerns about priesthood, and the promotion of a positive and distinct understanding of the ministerial priesthood. The Secretariat also assists the Bishops’ Committee on Child and Youth Protection.
Bishop McKnight wrote his doctoral dissertation on the permanent diaconate, and has continued to speak and write on the important role of deacons in the Church.