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Nick Kahl
Nick Kahl
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The many victims of the Catholic Church cover-up

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The Archdiocese of Los Angeles posted files concerning child-abusing priests on its website—more than 12,000 pages of documents—after being order to do so by the Federal Court.

In a letter to the faithful, Archbishop Jose Gomez addressed the release of documents, and the failures of his predecessors to protect the children of the parish. Archbishop Gomez veered widely from the standard Church language by acknowledging “The behavior described in these files is terribly sad and evil. There is no excuse, no explaining away what happened to these children.”

However, the National Catholic Reporter is not satisfied with the response, taking Archbishop Gomez to task in an editorial decrying his “we didn’t know” defense. Some within the clergy are also not satisfied, and are speaking up on behalf of saddened, disillusioned parishioners.

The release of these files demonstrates that the tragedy here is manifold.

It is tragic for the victims of abuse and their families. But, it is also tragic for all the faithful that the institution of the church showed great concern for protecting the institution qua institution — and no concern for protecting the very people that the church exists to nurture, guide, and protect.

The files can be found here, cataloged alphabetically by priest’s name at the bottom of the page. There is also a chart that shows the timing of each child abuse claim by date, and under which church administration. These files, while difficult to read, evince the decades-long active cover-up of child abuse by the hierarchy of the Catholic Church.

The few pages I’ve read leave me gravely concerned about trusting any institution with the care of our children. Sadly, evil can take root even where only good has been planted. But worse occurred here: the clergy did not simply turn a blind eye, or hope for the best. Instead, the clergy actively participated in covering up allegations of abuse. In some instances, that cover-up allowed abuse to continue for years, if not decades, longer than would have otherwise been the case.

In so doing, the Church put protecting its image above protecting its children.

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  1. Andrew John says:
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    Regarding evil in institutions and protecting children (and others) from evil: EVIL does exist – anyone who has been in the world a while and met some people knows that different people have different talents, abilities, gifts, weaknesses. A man I once met was a visitor to my parish and I was asked to mentor him, give him a ride home from Mass.and minister to him. After getting to know him he revealed to me that he was endowed with a gift to discern or sense spirits. He also revealed to me that he sensed many evil spirits attacking our parish. I did not doubt him in the least. There is just too much evidence for the existence of evil. Just because an individual, (child or adult) is in a place where good is supposed to reign supreme, does not mean that the people and place will NOT be attacked by evil forces. Scripture repeatedly reveals that we must constantly be on our guard, watchful and scripture forms the foundation of much of our law.

  2. Judy Jones says:
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    Child predators need to be kept far away from kids forever…
    BUT, an even more powerful danger is when high ranking officials enable, empower, and cover up these sex crimes against kids. They need to be held accountable for allowing more innocent kids to be sexually abused. It is and was a crime to sexually abuse a child.

    Child sex abuse thrives in secrecy and secret systems that allow it to continue to this day.

    Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, USA, 636-433-2511. snapjudy@gmail.com,
    (SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests,) is the worlds oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims.
    SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 12,000 members. Despite the word priest in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers and increasingly, victims who were assaulted in a wide range of institutional settings like summer camps, athletic programs, Boy Scouts, etc.
    http://www.snapnetwork.org/