I recently received an e-mail from a viewer named Chris about a priest friend of his who decided to speak out on the current scandal facing the Catholic church and got a standing ovation from parishioners:
"My impression is that the parishioners were grateful to hear a representative of the church speak up for the children. Yes, Neil, it is about the children... why can't our church understand that?"
I think that Chris has got it right.
Talk about it. Address it. Condemn it. But for God's sake, don't ignore it. It's like life: If you screw up, 'fess up.
The overwhelming majority of priests are good, decent and compassionate men. I strongly believe most that bishops are as well. But that doesn't mean there are problems.
I say, get rid of the bad priests and bishops now, so that the good can be left to do good. For all parishioners. For all people.
I can't tell you the number of priests who agonize over this issue and the way their church has responded to this issue. They fear their institution is slow to respond and slower yet to simply apologize.
They've had enough. I've had enough.
Some Catholics tell me they're appalled at my position on this. You know what? I'm appalled that you're appalled. I'm appalled that you would somehow find this story a media creation.
True, some of my colleagues love to bash a victim when he's down, but the media didn't shift perverted priests from church to church and have them wreak more havoc on innocent kids. The church did.
The media didn't pay out millions of dollars in hush settlements. The church did.
And the media didn't leave a telltale saga of payoffs and institutional indifference to its weakest members. The church did.
You're right, the media isn't a saint. But the church has hardly acted saintly.
Some of you say that I'm a bad Catholic for dumping on my own church.
I'd be a bad Catholic if I didn't.
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