Steve Lopez quite correctly lays the blame for the conspiracy of silence at the feet of those in the Catholic Church who have sought to cover up and thereby abet the abhorrent crimes of sexual abuse by priests ("Half Measures Won't Stop Molesting by Priests," Jan. 30). However, as an adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse and a Catholic, I think it is important to recognize that this sickness is not about sex, celibate priests or Catholicism itself; it's about power.
Advocating for married priests is a canard that completely ignores the fact that thousands of married heterosexual men molest boys every year. These predators are teachers, politicians, blue- and white-collar workers of every ethnicity.
Just as we strive to overcome the knee-jerk bigotry that would condemn all Muslims for terrorism, so should we recognize that 60 million American Catholics condemn and reject the actions of these sexual predators and those who conspire to hide them.
Outrage over child molestation has resulted in a zero-tolerance policy of molester databases, longer jail terms and even commitment to psychiatric institutions. Yet molester priests have rarely been prosecuted, and even more disturbing is the continued cover-up by the church's leadership. Large civil settlements have done little to discourage this behavior. More drastic action is needed.
Cardinal Roger Mahony should be compelled to testify if and when he had knowledge of priests molesting children. If he had knowledge, failed to report these crimes to the proper authorities or put additional children at risk by relocating molester priests without warning the congregations, then he should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. If we hold the church leadership accountable you can be assured those under their leadership will also be held accountable.
When will the church learn? Thank you, Steve Lopez. Your article was right on!