I don’t really like talking politics. But today, it’s all about politics.
Roll Call reported last week that Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner had agreed upon a new House Chaplain: a Jesuit priest from the Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus (Oregon Jesuits), Fr. Patrick Conroy. Victims were outraged. Why? In March, the Oregon Jesuits settled more than 500 cases of child sexual abuse for $166 million. In 2007, the same order was forced to pay $50 million to 110 other victims. Most of the victims were Alaska Native children, from poor villages with no running water, no access to support and services, and no escape from predators. In fact, the Oregon Jesuits’ own documents show that they intentionally “dumped” perpetrator priests in these villages where the kids were less likely to report abuse.
Apparently, it took Boehner and Pelosi some time to catch up on the news. Roll Call reported today that Pelosi is claiming “John didn’t tell me” and Boehner is saying, “But he’s a good guy.”
Here is where they are BOTH terribly wrong:
- Pelosi’s people read the papers, the internet and the news feeds. The Jesuit settlement was the top story when it was announced … in MARCH. This is not old news. She just thought that no one would care and that the national media would not catch on. That’s where she messed up.
- Boehner made his fatal error by claiming that simply because Fr. Conroy is an Oregon Jesuit, it does not mean that he’s tainted by the scandal. Sure, Fr. Conroy may be a really nice guy. He may not have abused a child, but also he didn’t call the cops when he should have. Here’s another take: if Fr. Conroy had worked for ACORN, do you think that Mr. Boehner would be so forgiving? Not so much. Yes, ACORN broke the law, but I am pretty sure their employees didn’t molest more than 600 kids and then cover it up.
What can these two do to make it better? Where do I begin?
- They can do what our national politicians have refused to do: Meet with, embrace and speak out for the victims of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, instead of continuing to meet publicly with the same bishops and cardinals who have covered up abuse,
- They can sit down and go through the tens of thousands of pages of documents (examples here or here or here or here or here … I could go on) that prove the abuse and cover-up,
- They can look at the numbers and the documents to see how the Catholic Church intentionally dumped criminals in our communities. Then, Church officials relied on our government social services programs and taxpayer dollars to pay for the care of the victims, while they were busy covering up crimes. You want to talk about “taking advantage of the system?” Then look no further than your local bishop, and
- They can rescind the nomination of Fr. Conroy. Immediately.
Finally, they can see, firsthand, that something needs to be done.
I think everyone can agree upon that.