The Vatican has also strongly defended its decision not to defrock an American priest accused of molesting boys at a school for the deaf in Wisconsin. Church and Vatican documents show that in the mid-1990s, two Wisconsin bishops urged the Vatican office led by Cardinal Ratzinger to let them conduct a church trial of the Rev. Lawrence Murphy. Murphy appealed, citing a statute of limitations and poor health. The trial was never held. Murphy said he wanted to die a priest and be buried in his ecclesiastical garments. So he did and so he was.
In Ireland, where stories of abuse of children have captivated public attention and deepened disgust with the way the church has handled them, Cardinal Sean Brady, the head of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland, will be pressured to quit if he refuses to resign, according to the London Times. The Northern Ireland Assembly is preparing to begin an investigation of Brady and child abuse in the province.
The president of Switzerland, Doris Leuthard, has called for a central registry of pedophile priests.
The problem for the Catholic Church is that it is extremely difficult to "fire" anyone. If shame does not cause abusive priests and their protectors to quit, nothing else can, except perhaps an exodus by Catholics from their congregations (taking their contributions with them instead of seeing the money go to settle victims' lawsuits). Other options include conversion to another faith, or no faith at all.
In all of this, it appears that the Catholic Church is more interested in preserving the institution than the integrity of the One it is supposed to represent.
The Catholic Church must be held accountable. A formal investigation should be conducted, which exempts no one, including the pope. It should be run by people not in the church hierarchy or beholden to it. Anything less will not satisfy public opinion, much less a Higher Authority.
In his instructions to Timothy about the qualities necessary in a pastor, Paul writes, "...the overseer must be above reproach." (1 Tim 3:2). The behavior of these pedophile priests, and those who covered up for them, is beneath contempt.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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