When I write about topics in this column, the topics are in most cases very positive thoughts regarding the Catholic clergy and their admirable social and religious activities. However this past weekend, the perpetually ugly story about clerical sex abuse in the United States made it into the press…again! This time the Los Angeles Archdiocese has reportedly settled all of the claims made against the clergy there for a staggering 660 million dollars. To date it is the largest settlement made by a Catholic entity in the United States to resolve this painful and persistent matter. Well, not only is the entire matter painful and persistent to the author, it is in my mind also a criminal matter that deserves prosecutorial attention and merit.

There are a few points that need to be made here. First is this, always and everywhere in all circumstances any type of abuse of any individual, especially a child is unequivocally wrong and immoral. Secondly, any individual or groups of individuals that conspire to conceal these deplorable actions is equally wrong and de facto immoral. Thirdly the gravity of offenses that has been presented and the subsequent cover-up of these offenses seem to imply that the American Catholic bishops are engaged in an intentional conspiracy to inadequately disclose these offenses and priests that have committed them.

As citizens and faithful Catholics we deserve better accountability on the part of our bishops and priests. If in fact allegations are proven as true, then perhaps the American Catholic Bishops are obstructing justice with their clerical “shell-game!” It seems that the time to consider just monetary settlements has long past, and quite honestly, that compensation is offensive. It is time to indict alleged perpetrators and permit the process of the American judicial system to run its course.

We would not accept any such grievous behavior from any other group of individuals in our society. We should not accept consistorial obfuscation from our clerical leaders. It is time for a Federal Prosecutor to indict the American Catholic Hierarchy as if they represented a group such as organized crime. RICO jurisdiction and legislation comes first to my mind. It seems that the actions and premeditated plan of cover-up justifies prosecution of the Catholic Hierarchy. Maybe it is time to fingerprint, photograph and process our “Mitered” brothers, as if they committed any other form of felony crime.

As a Catholic I am right there in support of the Catholic Church. However this ongoing drama of sexual scandal and sub sequential, “cover-up” continues to make any Godfather saga seem tame. If there are any more cases of abuse that need to be revealed, lets get on with it, so that true transparency is finally achieved.

There are a lot more productive causes that might be accomplished with 660,000,000 dollars. In particular, accomplishing Catholic educational and social objectives throughout the United States and the world. There always seems to be a deficit in the Catholic educational budget which results in the closure of schools, and parishes and other community based activities. Well 660 million dollars would go quite a way to provide physical and material comfort to all of those peoples out there with a substantial daily need. The American Catholic Bishops need to get back to fulfilling the corporal acts of mercy and living Gospel charity. Too much time, money, attention and prayers have been spent on the resolution of this clergy abuse scandal. Get back to being faithful stewards of Jesus’ Sacraments and Church. Let the judicial system we have in America resolve the matter once and for all.

No one in our country is above the law and that includes Catholic clergy and faithful. Those that have attempted to prevent justice should now be it’s receipients.

 

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