Thursday, December 5, 2002

Here's what I'm for:

Every time a Roman Catholic priest, deacon or lay minister is found guilty of sexual abuse, is caught in the act or admits it, I want that sentence, that incident, that admission blasted across the front page of every newspaper in the country.

I don't care if statistics show that the secular press gives 37.6% more space to incidents of sexual abuse among Catholic ministerial personnel than it does to incidents of the same sins among Presbyterians. Yes, I wish the press were more vigilant about reporting all exploitation of children and young people. Yes, I wish the press would see the frank insanity of holding up books like Judith Levine's Harmful to Minors for thoughtful, open-minded examination, while excoriating Catholic priests for the same behavior Levine holds might not be so harmful. Sure. That would be good.

But until that point, let the headlines blast.

Why?

Because every time the news of a cleric's misdeeds are made public knowledge, we increase the chance that the cleric across town or across the country who is at risk for the same behavior will be scared ****less and get some help and/or get out of the ministry, preferably both. Sure, I want the "image" of the Church to improve, but more than that, I want children to be protected and the priesthood, diaconate and lay ministerial corp to be cleaned out, and if the threat of having your sleazy mug blasted across the country for your mother and every other soul to see is what it takes, I say, so be it.

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