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Disclosures by Catholic Clergy Wouldn't Necessarily Serve Justice

March 09, 2003

Re "Mahony Resisting Disclosure," March 3:

I have contempt for sex abusers, especially anyone who uses a position of authority to prey upon innocent victims. There probably exists a special level of hell for priests who fit this profile. However, would we be so quick to demand private communications between priests and bishops to be acceptable evidence if communications between doctors and their mentors, psychoanalysts and their supervisors, or teachers and their principals were also to be made public whenever a lawsuit was filed? Every one of us has said or perhaps written something that might be regretted later -- things that, taken out of context, could be used to prosecute or shame us.

Furthermore, if these private conversations between priests and bishops are made public, will the prosecution rest after convicting the child molesters? Or will the public demand broader investigations that will include naming and/or blaming priests who may be dealing with other private issues?

The shocking truth is that priests are human. They suffer from and struggle with personal burdens like the rest of us. The collars around their necks do not make them immune to psychological illnesses, addictions or other personal problems that aren't in any way related to pedophilia.

If the bishop allows these communications to be made public, will the pedophile priests be brought to justice, or will the priest-hunt, desired and fueled by a hypocritical, scandal-seeking public, begin?

Regina Powers

Orange

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