It isn’t about faith, it’s about crime.
Here are five reasons you should care about the Catholic Clergy Sex Abuse and Cover-up Crisis:
1) Many church officials have broken and are breaking the law. The William Lynn trial in Philadelphia and the child pornography cover-up scandal in Kansas City are only unique because church officials—Former Philadelphia Vicar for Clergy Msgr. William Lynn and Kansas City’s Bishop Finn—were criminally punished.
In Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, Gallup, Seattle, Fairbanks, Boston, Toledo, Wilmington DE, and elsewhere, these crimes have continued for decades, but have never been punished because statutes of limitations have passed or church officials kept evidence hidden. The children who were injured came from many faiths and all income levels. They all had one thing in common: they were vulnerable.
2) The Church uses your tax dollars to pay for victims’ care. Victims of child sexual abuse are horribly injured, and many suffer for decades after the abuse. In most cases, the church knows exactly who the predators are, where they worked, whom they encountered, and who the victims are. Or, they can easily find out.
Church officials had a choice: intervene and help victims … or shield and protect priests.
As a result of their decision, victims were sucked into the vortex of shame, silence and pain. Victims of child sex abuse who do not receive early intervention struggle with addiction issues, violence, mental illness, suicide, and other destructive behaviors … and taxpayers foot the bill.
But church officials decided it was easier to cover up for abusers, because the government safety net would catch their “trash.”
3) Deference by Political Leaders. This one always chaps my hide. Cardinal Timothy Dolan said the invocations at both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions. He also admitted to paying predator priests $40K to leave the priesthood. $40K would pay for a lot of therapy for the child victims of these monsters (the kids got nothing, BTW). Heck, calling the cops is free. For the victims of abuse in Milwaukee, this is tragic.
4) Other organizations are following the church’s lead. Who do you think taught the Boy Scouts or the California teachers unions how to keep abuse under wraps? Imitation is the greatest form of flattery.
5) Little to nothing has changed. In San Diego, a priest who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a young woman still has his job. In Ontario, California, a priest who served a year in jail can still act as a priest (and the Diocese has done little to nothing to warn parishioners). In Kansas City, a bishop who covered up child pornography still has his job. In Los Angeles, church officials have stalled the promised release of sex abuse and cover-up documents for FIVE YEARS. In Philadelphia, the archbishop blames the media for the sex abuse and cover-up crisis (even after two grand jury reports blasted church leaders for covering up and fostering abuse).
Yep. You need to care.