Dear Editor: Initially, I was reluctant to write this letter because I have known so many good priests. Also, my anger was so intense that I decided to wait until I could express my anger with factual information in addition to my personal feeling of betrayal.
Pope Francis is going to hold a meeting of cardinals regarding cardinal/priest abuse in February 2019. This tells me that problem is definitely not a high priority for the pope and/or the cardinals if they can wait so long.
It’s past time to “speak truth to power.” It’s long overdue given the history of this problem.
As many Catholics, I am appalled at this problem and the extent of it. As a practicing Catholic who went to Catholic schools and volunteered as both a catechist and usher in my parish. I feel like I have been “kicked in the stomach” by the hierarchy especially when I saw a picture on a TV news program of my parish with an account by someone who had been sexually abused by a parish priest. While it happened a number of years ago, it doesn’t minimize the pain and scars caused.
As for the hierarchy and pastors, their lack of action about this problem which has been going on for years, their enabling of it by moving priests to different parishes, thereby giving them a new set of potential victims and perpetuating the intensity of the problem. They are guilty by aiding and abetting criminal activity. It is a sin so offensive it’s almost incomprehensible.
An article written by Father James Martin, a Jesuit priest, states that “one of the church’s most powerful clerics, Theodore E. McCarrick, for many years the archbishop of Washington, D.C. was accused of multiple incidents of harassing seminarians and young priests and of the sexual abuse of a minor.” (The New York Times Aug. 16) In what seems to be just the tip of the iceberg, another article reported that tens of thousands was paid to men who had complained of abuse by Archbishop McCarrick to cover up the harassment of seminarians.
We, the laity have paid for this. What really infuriates me is that in addition to paying what amounted to bribes – we also pay and continue to pay for their housing, food, utilities, daily living expenses and, only God knows, what else. We who struggle to pay rising costs of food, parents paying tuition in Catholic schools, utility bills, not covered medical expenses, medicines but still manage to contribute weekly to the regular collection envelopes not to mention the “extra envelopes” for other causes.
Frankly, if there were no “statute of limitations” in some of these situations maybe these offenders would be in jail instead of living “the good life” paid for by the parents of the children who are the victims of these priests and members of the hierarchy.
I have know many wonderful priests who are what truly spiritual, kind, and considerate. They represent qualities I would expect and I feel they are victims as well. They have been given a terrible cross to bear by the very hierarchy that should be helping them. To these priests (some deceased, some living), I will always be grateful.
RITA M. MURPHY