Click here to read: “Law officers, clergy forged ties stymieing prosecutions,” by Caitlin McCabe and Maria Panaritis, The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 6, 2016
Having faith and holding leadership accountable should not be mutually exclusive. We can have faith in God and send Bishops to jail. We can be Catholic and refuse to tolerate the cover up of clergy child sex abuse. How many Saints died for their faith? The least we can do is speak up to protect our Catholic faith from its morally and criminally corrupt leaders. Or, we can sit in Church and put our blinders on. After all, everyone makes mistakes. Just so long as a priest doesn’t make a child rape “mistake” with their own grandson or granddaughter.
This is where I’d like to insert a string of expletives but I’ll continue to use the vocabulary the Immaculate Heart Sisters taught me. Pope Francis is a breath of fresh air but the Church needs a hurricane now. It needs every Catholic voice to say, “We will not tolerate this.”
If you can’t get angry about child rape then maybe muster up some irritation at the amount of money going to victim settlements. These could have been avoided if the Church stopped predators when they were first discovered. That money should have gone to feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless or keeping your parish open. How much have you put into the collection basket over a lifetime? How much did your parents? Keep it coming.
According to the US Bishops Conference, the Catholic Church spent almost $3 billion on settlements, therapy for victims, support for offenders, attorneys’ fees and other costs in the United States from 2004 until 2013. Restitution to victims is fair and right. But I’m sure victims wouldn’t have traded their childhoods for it. Wouldn’t it have been better to shut the abuse down in its tracks before the numbers grew? Instead they covered it up and caused immeasurable spiritual, emotional damage and still growing financial burdens.
In 2015, the Philadelphia Archdiocese agreed to a $5 million settlement for “Billy Doe.” Many questioned why the Church would offer such a large sum when the star witness had credibility issues. Perhaps Church leadership didn’t want damaging documents in evidence to get any more attention. Their definition of transparency is very limited. Imagine perusing Msgr. Lynn’s day planner. Aside from the cover up, what notations might be made about the personal problems of the priests with whom he was meeting. Those could be very embarrassing for the priesthood. This I know. And here we have arrived at the motivation for the entire cover up – clericalism and protection of the institution at all costs. Until we address this, it will continue.