Child-molesting priests article was poorly researched

Re: Catholic Church wrong to protect child-molesting priests, Nov. 25, 2009

When I read last week’s editorial article dealing with the Catholic Church, I was appalled; evidently, checking facts is out of date.

I would like to begin by saying that I, like the writer of said article, am, in fact, an atheist. I do not believe in God, nor do I support the Catholic Church in any focused way.

However, I do support articles that are researched before they are put to print. The main problem is the message behind the “Crimen Sollicitationis”. This document operates in the exact opposite way to what was stated in the article. It is a measure regarding secrecy and anonymity within the church, for canonical trials, not for preventing the denouncement of guilty members of the clergy; it actually encourages that, and has places no restrictions on worshippers who are not ordained.

That aside, the whole article is articulated in a very inflammatory way. Random accusations such as ‘the Catholic Church uses fear to manipulate children’ are absolutely unacceptable in a public forum.

Before you make unfounded statements involving fact (in fact, Islam has more practitioners than the Catholic Church, by about 300 million; hardly the ‘religion that dominated the world’), check your sources.

–Jordan Burrows

Last week’s editorial column was completely unfounded. Poor research on the author’s behalf has, once again, led to serious questions being brought against the Catholic Church and its quest for morality.

Knowledge in the psychology behind sexual assault would alert the author to the fact that almost all people(s) involved in abusing a child “uses fear to manipulate children so they do not stand up for their basic human rights in instances where they are sexually assaulted”. This method of induced silence is not exceptional of Catholic Priests.

The “absolute oath of silence” required by the Crimen Sollicitationis does not force children who have been sexually assaulted to remain silent against those who have committed the crimes.
The document also does not state that “excommunication awaits all those who break this oath of silence”, but rather the penalty of excommunication was specifically for members of the tribunal who broke the oath of silence.

While the secrecy surrounding any accusation of a sexual nature towards a Priest was obviously interpreted by the author of this column to be the cover-up of scandalous acts, it was meant to ensure the protection of all involved.

By ensuring that the accusation will not be made public (although the outcome of any trial is indeed made public) Crimen Sollicitationis allows witnesses to speak freely, accused priests to protect their good name until guilt is established, and victims to come forward who don’t want publicity.

–Stacey Stahlbaum

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