Wednesday, August 24, 2011
The following is the letter which I sent to the Pope. I encourage others who read this blog to do something similar, perhaps a letter to your pastor or the Bishop in your area. We must not allow this issue to be put on the back burner. Keep the heat on. The safety of your children and grandchildren in their churches and in their schools is too important to ignore this issue.
As a victim of a pedophile priest, I am writing you to express my opinion and expressed desire on the subject of laicization. I think it most appropriate that I begin with a quote from Matthew: “And whoever receives one such little child for my sake, receives me. But whoever causes one of these little ones to sin, it were better for him to have a millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Matthew, 18:5,6
Ultimately, it is God who will judge us all. My aim in writing you is to ask you to do what you can to keep our schools and churches, throughout the world, safe for our children and our grandchildren. As you believe and as most Christians believe, each one of God’s children has a part to play in God’s plan. When a child is abused, his natural, God-given compass is tampered with and he becomes destined to live other than was intended by our Creator. In short, when a child is abused, the abuser has altered God’s plan. In my case, I never reached my potential, so damaged was my confidence and self esteem.
As a 73 year old man, I now see what could and probably should have been. I am sure that you have heard this before but you must realize and feel the pain that each one of the abused feels. To abuse someone is to inflict a wound that never heals. The long periods of depression, thoughts of suicide, ruined marriages and relationshjips, alcohol, drugs are all cripplers of one’s development. Furthermore, as a consequence, our societies and countries are not what they could and should have been. This is not hyperbole because, as you know too well, pedophilia in the Catholic Church is a universal problem.
The Catholic Church has a great opportunity to live the Gospel, to show Christian compassion and understanding by adopting a zero tolerance policy towards pedophile priests. The consequence of this criminal act must be laicization. Rather than engage in meaningless rhetoric, the Catholic Church must be proactive and definitive in its actions towards these criminal priests – for the sake of all of God’s children.
The pedophile priest, as any other person who commits this heinous crime against children, must be reported to the authorities, suspended from his clergical activities and if found guilty, then immediately laicized. Nothing short of this will satisfy the victims.
Our children are our heritage. My mother who was a devout Catholic always taught us that children were given to their parents but were on loan. It was up to the parents, their primary teachers, to bring them up in the love of God and to set them on the road that Jesus paved for us. The Holy Bible teaches us so much about God’s attitude towards children. As Christians, we must be faithful to his teachings:
But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them: “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.” Mark 10:14
“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians, 6:4
“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in Heaven.” Matthew 18:10
At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
And calling to him a child, he put them in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:1-3
For the sake of our children, your Holiness, show the world that the Catholic Church will no longer tolerate pedophile priests who have been found guilty of this heinous crime and will prove it by having them immediately laicized. I pray that you will do your utmost and act as Jesus would. Protect the little ones.