Shame on the Mobile Catholic archdiocese. Its leader, Archbishop Thomas Rodi, has suspended a suspected predator priest. But he basically kept the accusation and suspension secret, until a journalist’s tweet forced his hand.
For decades, Catholic bishops have pledged “openness and transparency” in clergy sex abuse cases. But more and more in recent years, bishops have broken that promise. Rodi owes parents and parishioners an explanation for his irresponsible secrecy.
The accused is helped every day that a credible child sex abuse allegation remains hidden. It gives him or her more time to intimidate victims, threaten witnesses, discredit whistle-blowers destroy evidence, fabricate alibis and even flee the country. Rodi is no dummy. He knows this. Yet he chose to do what his brother bishops have been doing for centuries – keep quiet about possible child sex crimes.
Even now, there’s no notice on Rodi’s archdiocesan website about the suspension.
Then, when Rodi finally “came clean” about the accusation against Fr. James Havens, he tried to minimize the alleged horror by citing the year of the possible crime and the claim that it didn’t happen at a church (as if somehow, it’s less devastating for a child to be molested on one side or the other of an invisible property line).
We hope that anyone who may have seen, suspected, or suffered clergy sex crimes in Mobile will step forward. We hope they will find the courage to call police, expose wrongdoing, protect kids and start healing.