Getting Rome's Ear: NH Catholics Must demand Change

Downloaded March 9, 2003

THE LITANY of horrors revealed in the New Hampshire Attorney General's report on the Catholic Church last week is, sadly, no great surprise. Too many similar stories of sex abuse, along with the coverups directed by higher-ups, have come from too many other dioceses.

Some people, understandably, seem benumbed by "more of the same." Others just don't want to read or hear anymore and hope it will all just go away.

It won't. Confidence in the church has been terribly damaged. It cannot be restored with promises by its present bishops. That leadership must be changed before the Catholic community and New Hampshire at large can be assured that sexual predators and their defenders have been thoroughly routed and will no longer be tolerated.

Catholics do much good for the New Hampshire community. We mean not just the devoted, hard-working priests who have been as devastated by this disgrace as anyone. We mean those who, along with businesses and non-Catholics, too, donate their time and dollars.

These worthwhile efforts are in jeopardy. The Bishop's Fund has been decimated. Catholic Charities, the state's single biggest social service entity, must consider the effects this scandal will have on its fine work in the future. Unfortunately, these efforts may have to suffer more before things get better.

It is true that Rome picks our bishops. But Rome doesn't work in a vacuum. If New Hampshire Catholics and New Hampshire donors, personal and business, demand change, Rome may have to listen.


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