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News ::
Checkmate the Bishop (english)
17 Dec 2002
When it comes to the coverup of Catholic priest abuses, there is more blame to go around than you might think.
The Catholics just can't stay out of the news. Here in Phoenix, two more cases of children being molested by priests, and the acts being covered by Bishop Thomas O'Brien, have been splattered all over the newspapers, blared out of every set of radio speakers. When did these horrible events take place that they should now garner so much attention? Well, in ... back in ... uh ... well, it was like 1979 that Father John Giandelone allegedly did a very bad thing with a 15-year old altar boy. And Father Pat Colleary committed his grave offense in ... I think ... I think it was around 1982, but then I could be off by a year or two there.

But that's not the point. The point is, it happened, and we didn't know about it then, so we didn't get to properly vent our outrage. So now that we're into a whole new millennium, it has come to the fore, and even County Attorney Rick Romley wants in on the action. The anger stems from the fact that both families involved have stated that they met with Bishop Thomas O'Brien (who wasn't a Bishop back then, by the way), who told them not to go forward with their accusations, and who promised them he would take care of matters. In both cases, the priests were transferred to other parishes, where of course they did the same god-awful thing to someone else. Romley claims to be conducting an investigation into whatever it is that O'Brien may have done, to see if there might be some kind of obstruction charges to apply.

This is all very sad, and is indicative of the kinds of things that keep popping out from under rocks all over the country. In Boston, for instance, a priest was found to have been trading cocaine for sexual favors from teenage girls. Suffer the little children, indeed. While nothing so scintillating as that has been dragged out into the sunlight in Arizona, the media here seems to think it would be left out of the feeding frenzy if they didn't go on and on, ad nauseam, about the two cases we have before us.

However, I feel that there is some more blame left to dole out. Some measure of outrage should be directed toward certain parties, and I am not finding it being done. It is a curiosity that nobody is blaming (hold onto your hat, now) the parents.

Allow me to elaborate and this won't take an entire week of your time, as the O'Brien saga has done. I am what they call a "cradle Catholic", meaning I wasn't "born again" (a very strange concept at best) or converted from Hinduism or Jingoism or anything else. I spent a few hours here and there during my childhood in the company of the priests. They made for cheap babysitters, I guess. And of course nothing happened. But if it had, and my parents had found out about it, I can guarantee you this: They wouldn't have shut up for love or money or an autographed baseball from Jesus Christ Himself. The cops would have been called, and someone would have been trading in his white collar for some black and white stripes. There's no question about that.

But that didn't happen here. What happened was, a supposed holy man came out to the homes of the families, and lectured them into silence. Their silence paved the way for these monstrous priests to go forth into new congregations and damage more lambs in the flock. They should have called the cops, but instead they guaranteed, with their shocking passive reactions, that some other young parishioners somewhere would be molested. In other words, they are accessories to the crimes that followed.

Don't tell me they weren't. All across the country, you read accounts of the Church paying off families of victims, who of course say they needed the dirty money for therapy, which is nonsense. Those people profited from evil, and accepted the envelope with a wink; they sold their children's innocence. But here in the Valley of the Sun, no such monies were necessary, for these people simply shut up when they were told to do so. They betrayed their children, and they betrayed their church, and now they want to be considered victims.

In no way do I buy into the argument that "it was a different time then", and that these were deeply religious people who didn't want the image of the Church to suffer. By the late 70s people of all faiths had been jaded by countless headlines and nightly newscasts, whether it was Kennedy's riderless horse following his coffin to the graveyard or the sick face of Charlie Manson after his west coast killing spree. Americans shouldn't be allowed to cry innocence in this. Not after reading about church bombings in the South. Not after they'd witnessed the government feeding some 56,000 young men into the ideological meat-grinder that was Viet Nam. Not after they had seen Richard Nixon resign in disgrace. Not after Martin Luther King and RFK. Not after Kent State.

Nothing can justify the fact that they turned their backs on their children when their children most needed them. And that shouldn't be laid at the feet of Bishop Thomas O'Brien. He followed common Church protocol, which is to get the priest out of the building. That doesn't make it right, but it certainly doesn't absolve the parents, either. If I had a child that was molested by a priest, and found out that someone else's quiet complicity was responsible for that priest even being loose in society, I would be on the hunt for those parents who had the opportunity to protect others, and abdicated that responsibility.

But you can't say that. That would be insensitive. That would be so wrong. That would be politically incorrect. That's why you read it here.
See also:
www.hellermountain.com
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