The fallout of the clergy abuse crisis continues to spread. Patricia Snow has a sobering piece today:

Everyone has a story. A priest friend of mine was assigned to a parish in New York City only to discover that his predecessor, in a panic, had eliminated every program involving children. There were no altar servers; there was no religious education. Everything was gone. A woman in another Connecticut parish was forbidden by her pastor to drive her students to a soup kitchen. Another woman, in another parish, couldn’t take a group of teenagers to see The Passion.

In parish after parish, programs have been curtailed or eliminated. When the bishops in Dallas went too far, essentially stripping priests of due process with their policy of zero tolerance, Rome eventually stepped in, restoring balance and justice. Who will step in on behalf of the laity, whose innocence in so many cases is being impugned? Who, in effect, will speak for our girls? “You can’t have community without trust,” I murmured at the workshop, but by that point the momentum was all the other way.