Rapid City Bishop hopes Vatican Summit brings about change
Transparency, accountability at the forefront
In the wake of the four-day Vatican Summit, the Catholic Church is taking strides toward accountability.
In Rapid City, scandal only comes in recent months with the conviction of a priest for sexually touching a minor. While brought to the public’s attention immediately following the allegations against Fr. John Praveen, some church’s around the world have not followed similar approaches to providing transparency.
Bishop Robert Gruss from the Diocese of Rapid City says he hopes this historic Vatican Summit enacts a difference in how sex-related cases are handled.
“More than anything the church needs to be purified and made holy again,” said Gruss. “People need to be held accountable for their actions and hopefully this summit is a catalyst for real change in the Catholic Church.”
In Praveen’s case, both legal and religious protocols were taken.
Praveen was arrested 3 days after the investigation began on Sept. 30, into his having sexual contact with a minor, twice in the month prior. He faces sentencing in April.
“From a church standpoint, when he was arrested, all of his faculties were taken away from him so he was suspended as a priest and that suspension will always remain as long he’s in this diocese, he will never function as a priest in this diocese again,” said Gruss.
Further action into Praveen’s status as a priest would come from his religious order in India. Gruss says his hope is that Praveen would never be placed back into ministry again, a decision Gruss can only offer recommendations on to the order.
“The two most important takeaways that I hope comes out of this [summit] is that as bishops we are held accountable for our actions within the court of Canon Law so we may have to change that to make that happen but also, so our children are protected and that’s the number one goal,” said Gruss.
Participating in the summit was former Rapid City Bishop, Blase Cupich, who has also called publicly for more transparency in the reporting and investigations of sex abuse allegations in the church.