In the midst of last week’s long-time-coming lawsuit avalanche filed by people who say they were victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests, a friend raised an interesting point.
Through the Child Victims Act, some of the plaintiffs were allowed to file anonymously, meaning they were permitted to keep their names a secret. But the men they accused were identified by name. My friend said that didn’t seem fair.
A two-word response immediately popped into my head. One of those words was: “Tough.” (Decorum prevents me from printing the other one.)
The Catholic Church and its leaders do not deserve an ounce of sympathy. Consider for a moment the centuries of damage inflicted on children, much of it tacitly sanctioned by the inaction of bishops and cardinals, all in the name of avoiding scandal and protecting predators, criminals who should have been in a prison, not on an altar. Then cry me a river flowing with milk and honey about “fairness.”
I say this as a Catholic. Disappointed, disillusioned and disgusted, but still a Catholic.
It took me a lifetime to get to this point. A year ago this week, The News published an open letter I wrote, in which I expressed horror that my church, which is like my family, had systematically looked the other way while countless innocent lives were being destroyed. My reason was the release of a Pennsylvania grand jury reportdocumenting decades of despicable acts by hundreds of priests, yet another in a string of criminal and journalistic investigations that kept finding the exact same thing: abuse followed by denial followed by cover-up.
The previous year also brought to light the names of dozens of priests in the Buffalo Diocese who were accused of abuse and never made to pay for their crimes, names that never would have come out without relentless pressure from members of the Buffalo media.
Church leaders all the way up to the pope have apologized. Local pastors have read statements from Buffalo Bishop Richard Malone or issued their own mea culpas on behalf of their colleagues. I have hea...
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