Letters to the editor -
I thought I had written my last letter concerning child abuse and the Catholic Church's handling of it. However, I have become aware of some very disturbing and disheartening developments regarding this topic.
It appears that the church is trying to reward itself for covering up years of abuse. One would have thought that given all the horrific abuse cases coming to light involving officials of the church that repentance for their actions and sins would be uppermost in the minds of the clergy. That the church would do all it could for the victims of its officials and by making public its efforts in this regard, the church would be showing it truly is repenting for the sins of its priesthood.
But, that certainly does not seem to be the case. As a matter of fact just the opposite is happening. According to the May16, 2010 edition of The New York Times, the Catholic Church is working against the interests of child abuse victims in state legislatures around the United States.
In recent weeks lobbying efforts by the church has blocked measures in Wisconsin, Arizona and Connecticut intended to widen the legal window for victims to file lawsuits against predators. It was noted that currently there is intense lobbying in the state of New York by the New York State Catholic Conference to block victim's rights.
The New York Times points out the proposed New York measure recognizes it typically takes many years before victims are ready to come forward. The New York measure also recognizes the Catholic Church's history of intimidating victims and burying abuses in church files, creating a shroud of secrecy that extended in many cases until victims were in their 30s or older, well beyond existing time limits for prosecutions.
What the Catholic Church fears is a wave of costly settlements and damage awards like those that followed California's temporary lifting of the statute of limitations several years ago.
By the church trying to avoid the legal repercussions of sexual abuse of children it is, as was stated before, rewarding itself for covering up the abuse. This is not repenting.
Now, besides the legalities of the matter, the church is also going against its own religious beliefs. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, second edition, " There is no one, however wicked and guilty, who may not confidently hope for forgiveness, provided his repentance is honest."
No one can say the Catholic Church's repentance is honest, but one can say, the Catholic Church is trying to avoid doing penance, and thus brings revulsion, scandal and scorn upon itself