Letters To The Editor 8/22/2018
No guilt by association
Editor: According to the recent grand jury report, during the course of 70 years, 300 priests abused 1,000 children or other vulnerable people in six dioceses in Pennsylvania.
We all can agree that is a very bad record. However, during the course of that same 70 years, thousands of good priests ministered, with care and compassion and not a hint of scandal, to millions of parishioners in those same six dioceses. The outcry against the bad ones is deafening and many people fall into the trap of accusing every priest who ever walked the earth of evil intent.
I ask that we not forget the many good men who were in active ministry over the years and who serve in parishes today. They do not deserve to be vilified or assumed to be guilty by association.
Removed from reality
Editor: I take exception to comments in the Aug. 19 Sunday Times article, “Church leaders vow more accountability.”
Sandra Yocum, of the University of Dayton, stated, “The church is the one that brings us healing and peace. How is the church going to be able to fulfill that mission given all these allegations and the leadership’s inability, at least in the past, to take this seriously?” In fact, the church’s hierarchy took the sexual abuse issue seriously. Once they were warned about potential financial liability in the early 1980s, bishops made the decision to put the church’s financial well-being and public reputation ahead of the safety and well-being of children. They made a conscious decision to abrogate their Christ-ordained responsibilities as moral leaders to act as protectors of church wealth and prestige.
The article also quotes the Rev. Thomas Reese, S.J., who “strongly advocates for transparency” and has concern over the reputations of priests who might be wrongly accused. He is right to be concerned. The reputation of every Catholic priest has been severely damaged by the systemic decisions of bishops to not root out the evil among them. Every Catholic priest is the subject of concern — conscious or subconscious, fair or unfair — by every dutiful parent.
Reese compares this dilemma to the concerns a newspaper might experience with respect to its responsibility for journalistic integrity after receiving a letter that accuses a writer of ethics violations. If he believes these are analogous situations, this is another example of the church and its clergy being out of step with reality. More children are not going to be sexually abused if the paper makes the wrong decision.
As the grand jury report so tragically proves, the same cannot be said when the church makes the wrong decision over and over again, for decades.
Don’t halt donations
Editor: A headline in Monday’s Times-Tribune read, “Catholics consider withholding donations.”
This would be a misguided decision if some church members decide that is what should be done. The church is not a building or those people with administrative duties. Anyone who has accepted Jesus Christ as savior is the church. Withholding donations only hurts those who remain faithful to the teachings of Christ. The faithful go to a building we call a church to worship God. This takes many donations for building upkeep, helping and feeding the poor, education, counseling, ministering to the sick and so forth. What the Catholic Church does for people is often taken for granted.
Also, withholding donations hurts the faithful, good priests who have lived a holy life of celibacy.
I have heard Catholics say that they don’t want their money used to pay off the victims. It won’t be. All of our donations go the parish to which we belong. As horrible as it is to read about these priests who abused children, it is a good thing that some of them have been revealed and removed. Hopefully, the church has been cleaned out completely of all of those predators. Now we can help the victims who have been abused.
Different holy war
Editor: I was raised Catholic. I believe in God, but I will not attend Mass nor receive Communion, nor confess to a priest who is knowledgeable of the church’s position on the atrocities perpetrated against children by pedophile priests.
Anyone who was ordained knows that these evil monsters are not all being punished or taking responsibility for their actions. It’s the church’s dirty secret that these monsters are recycled. They were sent for counseling and then to other parishes to molest children, a first-degree felony. These monsters did not join the priesthood to serve God. Some joined the religious life to be near children. They were served children on a silver platter with little potential for consequences.
Research proves that children are rarely seduced by strangers. Molesters are often within the child’s “circle of trust,” a mother, father, uncle, teacher, coach, or someone else close.
We only hear about these atrocities when there is a sensationalized media story.
There are millions of children who are victims of sexual abuse about whom we know nothing. When such a headline leaves the front page, the subject is forgotten. It makes me laugh when people say, “Priests ought to get married,” as if that will solve the problem. Or they may say that priests are homosexual and that’s why this happens. A man who is a priest is not going against his nature if he has sexual relations with a woman, nor does a homosexual go against his nature by having sexual relations with another man. But these same thoughts and actions about sexual relations with a 5-year old is sick.
Acting on those sick thoughts is evil. That’s what we’re dealing with. Children need to be protected.
As Andrew Vachss, a child protection consultant, said, “It’s the only fight that is worthy of the name ‘holy war.’ ”