Slick Ducks, the Church & Freedom of Speech
What Do You Do When a Priest Falls? Duck

Philadelphia Inquirer [Philadelphia PA]
Downloaded January 14, 2003

You know, of course, that you are the ones who need to duck. When the Daily News editorial board endorses the planned actions of the Slick Duck comic brigade in the name of free speech, you can expect some "free speech" in return.

Frankly, I think the comics did not actually plan a hoax. I think they flew the balloon, heard the voice of reason and decided it was not worth it.

The freedom of speech you advocate must always be tempered by justice. In other words, it may be legal, but is it fair? You mention the political satire that is traditional for the comics as a valid excuse to slander the church.

The scandal of priestly pedophilia is not political in nature the same way that the potential war in Iraq is. It is primarily a crime and one that still has living victims. Some of those victims include priests who have been unjustly accused or even assaulted. It includes thousands of just priests who have never harmed a soul and who have been painted with the same tawdry brush as the comics planned to splash on the whole church.

It includes children and young adults who are still struggling with their abuse.

Slick Duck would also have victimized religious women who have done no harm whatsoever. To say that Cardinal Bevilacqua should reserve his anger for the criminal priests is unjust because he has indeed raised his voice in protest - even before it was required. His behavior is in sharp contrast to the behavior of the cardinal in Boston who covered up crimes.

The Church in Philadelphia has indeed been more vigilant and more upfront with this issue than dioceses elsewhere.

Your paper apologized for printing mug shots of black men on its front page in deference to the feelings of the community. But you have no problem with nuns being depicted as go-go girls or altar boys seen running from under the cassocks of priests.

Shame on you. I expect that this letter is not the only exercise in "free speech" you will receive.

Gloria Endres

After reading your editorial in defense of political satire and the Mummers, it's unfortunate you don't understand the intent of satire.

Satire done well is about the truth - and, if done well, can be funny. But there is absolutely nothing funny about child sexual abuse.

Jerry Komar
Collingswood, N.J.

Although the Slick Ducks' routine on sexual abuse in the Catholic Church never materialized, I was compelled to write after reading Cardinal Bevilacqua's hypocritical comments about the planned performance.

The cardinal was concerned that the "insensitive" skit could be "painful" to abuse victims.

Since when is the cardinal sensitive to the pain of victims? We learned a few weeks ago that he has allowed a priest with a federal conviction for possession of child pornography to serve in a Montgomery County parish for years.

How painful is that to victims? What message does it send to them about his sensitivity to their pain?

The cardinal also expressed "outrage" over the brigade's planned caricatures of the hierarchy of the Catholic Church.

Where has Cardinal Bevilacqua's outrage been for the past 25 years while his fellow bishops and cardinals have transferred abusive priests from parish to parish, allowing them to continue to prey on innocent children and unsuspecting families?

The hierarchy of the Catholic Church has become a punch line because their arrogant and aloof response to the sexual abuse crisis demonstrates that they still don't get it.

Until they come clean and do the right thing, they should not be surprised if they continue to be lampooned and vilified by the people who find their behavior deplorable.

John Salveson
Philadelphia SNAP

(Survivors Network

of those Abused by Priests)

The people who are sick are the Catholic priests who indulged in fooling around with children - and the bishops who did not stop it.

Not the Slick Ducks.

Steve Shade
Louisville, Ky.


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