Friday, October 14, 2005

How Much More Can U.S. Catholics Take?

Cardinal Roger Mahony, above, has been head of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles for 20 years.

By Lisa Haddock
NJ Faith Forum Editor

The never-ending story of children and teens abused by priests and other church officials has opened yet another revolting chapter. This time, it’s Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the nation’s largest.

The archdiocese released summaries of personnel records that show it allowed at least eight priests who had been the targets of complaints to remain in active ministry and in contact with children, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday (Oct. 12).

One case involved Father Richard Henry. During the Eighties, the archdiocese received three complaints about Henry, including one from a nun. The sister, who served Our Lady of the Rosary Parish, reported in 1988 that Henry “was partial to boys,” the Times stated.

When that report was made, Cardinal Roger Mahony, the current head of the archdiocese, had been in his post for three years. Henry was allowed to seek therapy and continue in ministry. After a sheriff’s department investigation, Henry pleaded no contest in 1991 to four counts of lewd contact with a child. He served three years behind bars, the Times reported.

The archdiocese faces more than 560 lawsuits from people who allege they were sexually abused as minors. At least 245 clerics are involved. The archdiocese had previously put the number at 219. Seven priests who have been the target of complaints are still in active ministry.

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1 comment:

Jan Fredericks said...

When will Church leaders follow God's Word? If there is cover-up between Bishops and Popes they must read their Bibles and follow God's will. The Bible (outside of the Lectionary's Scripture Readings) is plentiful when giving advice on judging and DISCIPLINING those within the Church. The Bible even says that God instituted Civil Law and those who shun it, resist God and will bring judgment upon themselves (Ro 13:1-4 (further on it says that we should also pay taxes!). Seminaries don't need another Ethics and Morality course. They need to read the Bible and follow God's ways (which are higher than ours).
Counseling and tolerace is NOT acceptable when crimes and hush money (cover-ups) were (are?)rampant in the Church. Why did the laity (the flock which is to be protected by our Shepherds) need to uncover the sins and crimes of Priests, Bishops and Cardinals who should have been excommunicated even temporarily (and not to live in a rectory or retreat house!). Some may even be wolves in sheeps' clothing - destroying souls and lives (which is Satan's job). Who pays for their retirement and up-keep? The laity. Who paid for insurance, for the buildings that are sold? The laity.
Who can we trust? Psalm 118:8 (the verse in the center of the Bible) says "It is better to take refuge in Yahweh than to rely on human beings." I'm grateful for that verse since it is something I can rely on.
In the end, God always wins and will bring justice to all no matter how many Church lawyers work on these cases, and no matter how many counselors try to help these child molesters and no matter who is involved in the cover-ups.
Teachers of God's Word will be judged more harshly than those they teach.
We need more St. Paul's to follow as an example who advised us to use his life as a model. We need to heed his words on how to discipline those in the Church. Jesus even gave directions in Mt. 18 concerning discipline which is carried out by obedient leadership (not favoritism), and those who want to please God.
The Word of God gives us priceless instruction on disciplining those in the Church. The grossly sexual immoral and child molester criminal should either be in jail for a very long time (again being taken care of by taxpayers) or told to leave the Church to live 'in the world' and registered as child molesters in every county and state so people can be aware of them to protect their children. The Church should tell us who to be aware of instead of keeping names a secret. Accountability TO THE LAITY is needed for trust to begin. WE need transparency and TRUTH, not excuses and more cover-up. Nothing less will help build trust (at least for this writer).
No amount of money will be able to get rid of this cancer in the Church. Only by following God's teachings on discipline and submitting to God's civil authorities will the Church be able to heal and be prepared for Jesus' return. We are to obey our leaders who watch over our souls, not those who destroy them and we are all affected when one part of our body hurts we all hurt. Leaders who watch over our souls will all give an account of them some day (Heb. 13:17).
Some Scriptures:
Hebrews Chap. 3,4,5&6:1-12;10:26-31
1 Tim 1 and 4 - instruction
2 Thess. 2:912 (warning of being deluded)
Titus - a great book
Ro 13:1-7 - civil authority
Lk 12:1b-2 - be on guard of the yeast of the Pharisees
1 Cor 5 & 6 - sexual immorality, lawsuits and discipline by the laity. WE HAVE THE RIGHT AND DUTY TO JUDGE THOSE WITHIN THE CHURCH. We ARE the Body of Christ that needs to bring healing to those who have been hurt. So, as we take the logs out of our eyes to see the splinters that need to be removed, let's continue to pray and love one another and gain our strength from God who loves us. He will judge all of our deeds. May all we do and say be pleasing in His sight as we follow the Word of God.