Some bishops have been holding special Masses called Masses of Reparations in which the presiding bishop begs forgiveness of God, the victims of sexual abuse and the community for the sins of the priests and the negligent church leadership.
Other bishops and priests have led worshipers in special prayings of the rosary and special prayers for abuse victims.
There have been homilies and letters and messages of sorrow and regret read by the Catholic clergy to parishioners, and Catholic TV broadcast a 12-hour service of prayers and penance as an offering of reconciliation.
But these responses haven't been easing the hearts and minds of the Catholic faithful, who have likewise been disappointed that the recent Vatican summit on clergy sex abuse came up with no real ideas for making reparation for past crimes or for preventing future crimes.
Actually I've come up with an idea.
In biblical times when one wished to publicly exhibit deep and sincere repentance for a grave sin committed by oneself or by members of one's community, one abandoned one's fine clothes and donned sackcloth and covered oneself in ashes in a show of humility before God and men in hopes of receiving forgiveness.
If the powers that be in the Catholic Church are sincere in their repentance and desire to rid its clergy of sexual predators who disguise themselves as men of God to lure their prey, this is the approach the Church should take.
However I'm not saying that the Catholic clergy should abandon their vestments and start wearing sackcloth. I'm saying they should abandon their vestments and start wearing the clothes that the rest of us wear.
Pope Francis should issue a papal edict, legally binding by the Roman Curia and the Holy See, proclaiming that in humbly begging forgiveness of God and men for the sins committed by the Catholic clergy against children and the vulnerable, as a penance for these sins henceforth all members of the clergy, from the priests to the bishops, archbishops, cardinals, even to the Holy Father himself, will no longer wear any distinguishing clerical garb or vestments. The edict should establish that from now on members of the Catholic clergy will dress the same as everyone else.