Catholic Hierarchy Have a Lot to Answer for

Times Leader [Pennsylvania]
July 30, 2006

The victims of sexual abuse were abused yet once again, and by people who were actually in a position to lend a hand. As the Times Leader investigation continues to unfold, no doubt diocesan officials will continue to badger editors and reporters as the truth comes out church hierarchy were more concerned about protecting pedophile priests than children.

There should be no statute of limitations when the rights of children have been violated by those who lived much of their adult lives perched on a pedestal heightened by the trust of innocent and vulnerable believers.

As horrific as sexual abuse by priests may be, the perpetrators might merit a more forgiving place if only their superiors had the courage to do the right thing. For a few, counseling and close supervision might have been enough to prevent future abuses. Others clearly required something more intensive — a mental hospital or a prison.

But repeated abuse, as well as willfully hiding the crimes and the criminals — as far as I can see, this brings us much closer to the realm of mortal sin. And the sinners include not just the church hierarchy, but also attorneys who ill-advised parents not to buck the system and take on the Catholic Church, or may even have provided inside information to thwart legitimate cases against the church, law enforcement officials who may have thought it best to warn church officials of pending investigations, and janitors, housekeepers, teachers, and employees of the Catholic Church who kept silent because of concerns about a paycheck, a 401K, a pension, or a fear of standing up to church authorities.

God has a place for everyone — and if you abuse children or protect the abusers of children, we can only hope that your place is called hell.

Mike Ference Clairton, Pa.


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