We are not optimistic about Las Cruces' next Catholic bishop. Pope Benedict has appointed a number of bishops in recent years who have terrible track records on child safety.
And we're disappointed with Bishop Ramirez' handling of pedophile priest cases. Roughly 30 of his brother bishops have posted on their diocesan websites the names of proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting clerics. Ramirez' has not.
In 2002, Bishop Ramirez said that the diocese, in its nearly 20-year history, had not faced any abuse suits. Weeks later, however, he admitted that he had let an admitted molester, Fr. David Bentley, work in a parish since 2000. (Catholic officials had paid $70,000 in 1997 to a man who said Bentley abused him and his siblings at a children's home in the 1970s.
We wish Ramirez well in retirement. But let's not re-write history and ignore the fact that Bishop Ramirez, like most of his Catholic colleagues, has acted recklessly and callously and secretively about children's safety.
No matter who replaces him, it's still crucial that victims, witnesses and whistleblowers report known and suspected clergy sex crimes and cover ups to secular officials, not church officials.
We hope the new bishop posts predators' names on his website and begins an aggressive effort to reach out to those who are still suffering because of the heinous crimes of child molesting Catholic clerics.
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