Letter: An updated primer for Catholics
To the Editor:
I am sure that many Catholics were upset with the news coming from Pennsylvania but it is important to remember that this report covers alleged abuses extending back to the 1940s and that just about all the accused are deceased or are no longer in ministry. The numbers quoted in the report are accusations — none have been verified by a grand jury. The accused in this report never had an opportunity to defend themselves .
John Jay College for Criminal Justice found that 4% of priests nationwide were accused of a criminal offense but only half were substantiated. The PA report claims 300 priests were predators but using the ratios by John Jay drops that number to around 150. There were around 5,000 priests who were around during the seven decades of the report so this abuse was not as widespread as the media reported.
Any abuse is one too many — we should be asking ourselves what has the Church done since then to prevent such scandals.
Over the past two years 0.005% of the Catholic clergy have had a credible accusation leveled against them. This was a direct result of the changes made by Catholic Bishops. Yet nowhere do we see this figure reported.
Christ told us the weeds would grow with the wheat and a single case of anyone being violated by a priest is too high but I remind everyone that the Catholic Church feeds, clothes and shelters more people that any other charitable organization on earth. Any reductions in your financial support will reduce the ability of the Church to provide this level of care. Most Catholics don’t go to Mass because we admire the pope, bishop or our pastor. We go to hear the word of God and to receive Christ in communion. That will never change.