Church's Stand on Subpoena Power Examined
Letter to the Editor

Hartford Courant
June 7, 2003

The Courant reported on the Catholic Church's fight to stop the passage of legislation giving subpoena power to prosecutors during criminal investigations [Page 1, June 3, "Church Fights Subpoena Power"]. A companion article ["Arizona Bishop Avoids Indictment"] detailed how a bishop in Arizona had, under the advice of attorneys, admitted to placing priests with histories of sexual misconduct in positions dealing with children. Some of these children were then sexually abused. However, the bishop avoided jail after apologizing for his actions.

Abuse by the clergy is happening all over the country. Unreported criminals and co-conspirators have been abusing the children of Catholic families for many decades with the protection of the church, while the church simultaneously preaches the commandments, honesty and confession. As a Catholic, I am disturbed by this blatant hypocrisy. I stand against any effort to prevent this behavior from being brought to light. If subpoena power is needed to protect us from our religious leaders, we have a very serious problem. I believe it is time for such a measure.

Publication of these abuses is a relatively recent phenomenon. However, as long ago as 1986, I worked at a local psychiatric facility that specialized in treatment of priests with such tendencies. The church was aware of the crimes then and fights the release of such information now.

The time has come to criminally prosecute offenders and those who protect them. If the church is financially destroyed in the process, I believe it's better to be poor and pure than to lose the faith of millions of devoted Catholics as well as the respect of the religious community. Anything less suggests the church cares more for financial security than for the security of its devoted followers and their innocent children.

Richard Tynan



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