Many of the bishops in the Catholic Church have made public the names of suspected sexual offenders. By contrast, there is not a single institution, secular or religious, that has done likewise. To be sure, this brazen honesty has persuaded fair-minded people to applaud such efforts, but others, less kind, see this as an opportunity to exploit. For example, today’s Journal Sentinel features the pictures of 45 priests who at one time or another had substantiated allegations made against them. This is pure hype: it was Archbishop Dolan who posted the names of these priests 9 years ago. Where are the pictures of alleged sex offenders in non-Catholic communities? Where is the same level of scrutiny?
Today’s Journal Sentinel says the bishops’ conference adopted a charter in 2002 that addresses the sexual abuse of minors. “How effective that charter has been is a matter of some debate.” Nonsense. There is no debate: in the past six years, the average number of credible allegations made against over 40,000 priests is exactly 7.0. If the Journal Sentinel knows of any institution with a comparable record, it should say so. Its comment about a 2011 grand jury report in Philadelphia failed to mention the 20-plus errors that have been found, to say nothing about the veracity of the principal accuser: he is a congenital liar, school dropout, thief and drug addict.
No one disputes the timeline of the scandal—the mid-60s to the mid-80s—so it makes one wonder whether those who continue to harp on this issue are motivated by something other than the wellbeing of minors. Not only are current cases of such abuse being ignored in non-Catholic communities, few are touting the reforms made by the Catholic community as a model for others.
I know Cardinal Dolan: he is an honest, courageous, brilliant man of faith. He did not create this problem; on the contrary, he is among those who sought to fix it.