A fish rots from the head down. No matter how well intentioned Ms. Valenti may be, she’s yet another Catholic lawyer hired by – and answering to – a reckless, deceitful and callous Catholic bishop. No matter how many new lawyers Bishop Finn hires, Bishop Finn still calls the shots.
We’re told that at least 42 Catholic employees were named in abuse complaints last year. But church officials are refusing to name them in this report. This is the same old secrecy, dressed up in fancy clothes by another new lawyer on the bishop’s payroll.
The Catholic hierarchy will claim these alleged wrongdoers are no longer on the job. Even if that’s true, it’s little consolation. They likely aren’t in jail or being carefully monitored so they may well be molesting children today. And unless parents, parishioners, the police and the public are told who they are, Catholic officials are continuing to put their selfish interests above the safety of others.
(Reminder – Fr. Shawn Ratigan was no longer on the job between December and May. Church officials claimed they were “monitoring” him. Yet he continued to hurt young girls during that time.)
Kids are safest when predators are jailed. Until that happens, kids are safer when predators are exposed. When the names of proven, admitted and credibly accused offenders are kept secret, vulnerable individuals are at risk. Valenti and Finn know this. But despite a decade of pledges of “openness and transparency” by Catholic officials, Catholic officials continue to be secretive about known and suspected sexual assaults by clergy against innocent kids and vulnerable adults.
Disclosing numbers of predators helps no one. Disclosing the names and whereabouts of predators is what’s needed.
Remember – if these accused Catholic employees are “no longer on the job,” that likely means most were deemed credibly accused of committing other similar offenses. So there should be little hesitance about disclosing their names.
We’re especially worried about the eight accused offenders whose cases are so far “inconclusive” and the three who Catholic officials allegedly can’t “locate or identify.” In these cases especially, Bishop Finn and his staff should especially be honest about these accused wrongdoers.
This report is yet another in a long series of savvy and carefully choreographed public relations moves by a desperate and discredited bishop and his top aides
Thomas Smolich’s Letter to “America”
[Smolich expresses a self-serving concept that church officials can help a victim of the church make a sex abuse report about the church to the police.]
Thank you for your editorial on June 3 about the current crisis …
Having dealt with this situation, it is important to help the victim take the lead so that however the process evolves, he/she is in control of it and is not victimized again. Often, informing church authorities is the first step in dealing with painful memories. Adult victims who come to us rather than to law enforcement are looking for pastoral care and, most of all, an apology. When they are ready, they have the power to tell civil authorities on their own terms, perhaps assisted by the church representatives who have accompanied them in the process.
Thomas Smolich, S.J.
(now the top USA Jesuit)
Los Gatos, Calif.