November 19, 2009, 7:10AM
In today's Post-Standard, a Roman Catholic priest criticizes bishops' handling of reported sexual abuse by priests.
To the Editor:
As a Roman Catholic priest in good standing, I find myself in the midst of a great dilemma. Of which should I be more ashamed? The fact that less than 3 per cent of my priest brothers have been credibly accused of the sexual abuse of minors? Or the fact that 97 percent of the nation’s Roman Catholic bishops seem to be in a state of invincible denial?
The assertion that “homosexuality is no factor in abusive priests” (Post-Standard, Associated Press, Nov. 18) is so utterly absurd as to defy rational credibility. Fact: Ninety-five percent of all reported cases of sexual abuse by priests involved the homosexual predation of teenage boys! What was the bishops’ response as this crisis was festering for more than 50 years? Instead of reaching out in a pastorally responsible and sensitive manner to the victims and their parents, they called in their attorneys to protect their assets.
This adversarial relationship that the bishops themselves created exacerbated the problem to the point where it became completely unmanageable. They have destroyed the morale of many good and holy priests and have alienated the faithful to the point where no one now living will ever see the healing of the injuries caused by this unspeakable abuse of power.
Memo to bishops: “Denial” is not the name of a river in Egypt!
Rev. Eric K. Harer