Catholic Church Must Be Open

The Clarion-Ledger [Jackson MI]
Downloaded March 16, 2003

The Catholic Diocese of Jackson is not helping the church's effort to overcome the national priest sex abuse scandal by seeking to seal court records in a Mississippi lawsuit.

The church, as it has done elsewhere, is seeking to seal records from the public in a lawsuit accusing a priest of sexually abusing three brothers some 30 years ago.

That may be a legal tactic, but it is not a moral tactic that should be endorsed by the diocese.

The Catholic church nationally is engulfed in controversy over church leaders transferring priests accused of sexual abuse to other parishes instead of removing them.

The local lawsuit accuses the diocese of following the same course.

The cases will be decided in court, but the church must support openness if it is to restore its credibility in dealing with such difficult cases.

This is a good example of why all court cases - especially settlements - should be open to the public.

Sealed court records undermine the system of justice.

Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.