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Keep a light shining on sex abuse by priests

Thank you for the Journal’s continuing coverage of the sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests, most recently by Journal reporter Colleen Heild on (Oct. 14). Thank you also to Attorney General Hector Balderas and KOB TV reporter Chris Ramirez for their continuing investigations and coverage of this story.

The hypocrisy of the Catholic Church is appalling on this issue. The Church continues to press its onerous control of the sex lives of lay Catholics: no pre-marital sex, no birth control, no homosexual sex, no masturbation, no abortion, no anything other than sex within marriage to make children. While none of the forbidden behaviors are crimes outside of the Church, the rampant child sexual abuses inside the Church ARE crimes. Even the “punishments” of defrocking or excommunication are not in any way comparable to years in prison for lay child abusers.

The child abuse by priests issue has festered in this country and the world since its widespread exposure in the 1990s and is finally being addressed, although most of the abuse took place many years ago, they say. Why should anyone believe it is only in the past? There was a letter to the Journal a short time ago that argued that most priests are very good and holy people, and that the abusers are “a small minority.” Are 74 priests in New Mexico and 300 in Pennsylvania, multiplied by every state and every country in the world, a small minority? This was the position of most Catholics many years ago when it became a national and worldwide issue: that it’s only a few misguided people. Then the whole thing was swept under the rug.

It was swept away by the bishops and the cardinals and the popes who committed the crimes of covering up these actions and many more that have continued throughout the existence of the Catholic Church. Obviously, the priesthood has attracted men who knew that they could do things in the priesthood that were not tolerated outside of it and then be protected by the hierarchy.

Or you could say it was swept away in the confessional. Confession is a wonderful sacrament for most Catholics. It is evil if it is meant to cover up and wash away crimes. You can do just about anything, including murder, and be forgiven and go to heaven if you confess. As the mobster John Gotti Jr. said in an interview, he was good with the church, despite a history of murders and other serious crimes. A good friend of mine, now deceased, had gone to a priest for advice when she was a teenager and received his sexual “advice” for eight years, and gave birth to three daughters, who were put up for adoption. Of course, they both went to confession soon after every sexual encounter.

I left the Catholic Church more than 50 years ago, initially for a minor issue of hypocrisy after years of youthful devotion, and I have never regretted it. I also didn’t buy Thomas Aquinas’ proofs of the existence of God, after acing an Aristotelian logic class in a Catholic college. I did know priests whom I admired and nuns in grade school whom I loved, but now I believe they may be innocent victims of this horror that stains the whole Catholic Church.

Please keep the spotlight on this issue. “Spotlight” is a movie about the Boston Globe’s reporting on the child abuse scandal in Boston that won the 2016 Academy Award for best picture. (It is) based on the book “Betrayal: The Crisis in the Catholic Church” by the investigative staff of the Boston Globe, which won a Pulitzer Prize and led to the resignation of a cardinal, who was later awarded a Vatican appointment … to protect him. The media and prosecutors must keep up the pressure to bring the perpetrators to accountability. This has gone on long enough.

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