A full page essay sponsored by the ‘Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights’ appeared in the April 11, 2011 issue of the NY Times, where Mr. Bill Donohue asserted that the Church and its priests are being unfairly attacked by media, lawyers, and others who exploit the issue of sexual abuse for ideological and financial profit. Mr. Donohue sites several instances where this has occurred, specifically mentioning attorney Jeffery Anderson, BishopAccountability.org, and a Grand Jury investigation in Philadelphia that “turned into a single-minded pursuit of priests”.

He goes on to say that groups such as teachers, public employees, media outlets and other religious and professional organizations are not held to the same “zero tolerance” standards when it comes to investigating allegations.

Why is This? I’ll tell you why. The Catholic Church since its inception over 2000 years ago has held itself up as the “one true church” founded by Jesus Christ and passed on down to St. Peter. The priests of Rome have always been revered by Catholics as descendents of this sacred lineage and therefore no matter how much children or adolescents may have expressed their dislike or fear of individual priests, they were taught right from the beginning that they must respect all priests regardless of how they felt, because these were blessed individuals chosen by God who could do no wrong. Nobody else in the world compared to priests in this way. Respected secular professions such as teachers, dentists, doctors, lawyers were also held in high esteem but in a more individual way. If one went bad, he or she was disbarred, had their licence lifted, or was sent to jail, but generally the profession as a whole was left untarnished.

Priests are believed by Catholics to have a direct connection to God in that they alone can transform the wine and water into the body and blood of Christ and that they alone can intercede with the almighty and forgive our sins. That is why we cannot accept their trangressions with the same ‘wink of an eye’ that we can with other ‘normal’ human beings. This is the cross they have chosen to bare.

If the Church wishes to retain what little respect still remains, it must become more fully aware of what its priests mean to the faithful and to some extent, the public at large. All allegations, no matter if they happened years before, must each be given a respectful transparent hearing in front of a fully independent board made up of clergy, the faithful, and the general public. If guilty, the perpetrator must be made accountable and where not, compensation and sincere apologies are in order.

Mr. Donohue also reports studies showing that 80% of the abuse was homosexual and not pedophilic, since three quarters of the victims were post-pubescent just like Blue Saltwater. Is that supposed to mean that the acts weren’t as serious?

Why doesn’t the Church look in the mirror and ask itself why it attracts homosexuals? Is it because it doesn’t allow gay marriage and so, where is a good Catholic gay man to go? Is it because it still clings to the idea of celibacy and thereby excludes many excellent heterosexual men who do not find this to be a reasonable normal lifestyle. Is it because it excludes women in the priesthood who would have called out the abusers long before this?