Letters to the Editor

Transparency, swift action needed

Originally Appeared in : 9907-3/28/19

As a parent and a lifelong Catholic, I feel compelled to respond to Father Douglas Clark’s recent commentary “A Partly True and Partly False Bill of Indictment” (Page 15, March 14, 2019) in which he attempts to ameliorate the Church’s guilt in covering up rampant sexual abuse of children by clergy. 


To argue that the investigative report completed by a Pennsylvania grand jury was unfair is to gloss over the crux of the problem: Church hierarchy is solely responsible for this crisis. Predators were allowed to move from parish to parish without alerting parishioners to the danger their children were exposed to. Some priests were sent away for “treatment” at Church facilities laughingly dubbed “Club Ped” rather than forced to face criminal charges. Clark says that the report’s intention was to “hand down unofficial convictions for crimes that will go ‘unpunished and uncompensated otherwise.’” Yes, that is the only possible recompense for perpetrators who are long dead but were protected from punishment during their lives. 


Real institutional change cannot be reached unless we face this crisis head on and honestly. Nit picking about details in reports serves only to make the Catholic community skeptical about the intent of Church leadership to change the culture and solve the problem. Pedophiles and the people who shelter them from justice must be kicked out of the clergy and made to face the consequences under the laws of the land. Transparency and swift action are crucial to regain the trust of Catholic parents that our children are safe.


Terry Irvin
Holy Family Church

Letters published do not necessarily reflect the views of the Southern Cross or of the Diocese of Savannah.

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