In the September edition of New Jersey magazine there was an interview with Church-suing attorney Stephen Rubino. The league’s response was to once again correct common misperceptions about this issue.
Rubino says that author Richard Sipe found that 6 percent of priests were pedophiles. Wrong. What Sipe said was that 6 percent of priests had such tendencies. Now tendencies and actual behavior are not identical, and both Sipe and Rubino know this. Beyond that, it is not clear how one measures tendencies toward anything. Yet this nonsense is bandied about by Rubino to make his case against the Church.
Rubino also errs in charging that wayward priests are simply sent to other parishes. There was some of that in the 1980s, but the National Catholic Conference of Bishops has taken steps to deal more effectively with this problem in the 1990s. And as recent editions of Catalyst have shown, the incidence of pedophilia in the Protestant clergy is greater than the level among Catholic priests.
Rubino was the attorney who took the case of Steven Cook against Cardinal Bernardin. Cook exonerated Cardinal Bernardin before dying of AIDS (his “seeing and feeling memory” was, on later reflection, not very clear to him) yet Rubino gets off easy in this interview with Stephen Barr because Barr never presses Rubino on this issue.
Bishop McHugh of Camden, New Jersey is mentioned in the article for his readiness to fight attorney’s like Rubino. It is to his credit that Bishop McHugh does not simply lie down and let the likes of Rubino walk all over him. We have seen too many priests unfairly maligned by the Rubino’s of this world to let that happen again.
If a priest is guilty of wrongdoing, he should be held accountable. The same goes for those who engage in overkill in their pursuit of “justice.”