Re "Catholic doctrine is cited in priest sex abuse cases," March 26
I'm certain there are many Catholics who have never heard of the doctrine of mental reservation. Some might justify it as nothing more than sin of omission. However, let's call it what it truly is. It is standing in a public forum, swearing to one's God to tell the truth and then lying. And this has become the acceptable practice among some Roman Catholic clergy -- the very people we, as Catholics, were taught to look up to and revere.
We know that some Roman Catholic priests, brothers, deacons and nuns have sexually violated children. And now we hear that some of the ordained and consecrated of Roman Catholicism are nothing more than the immoral representatives of a morally bankrupt church. Where will this all end?
Lying to protect the church is in no way equal to lying during World War II to protect Jewish families in hiding from the Nazis. Lying to protect the church's reputation in sex abuse cases is a moral issue. Victims of sexual abuse by priests suffer lifelong trauma. Mental reservation to protect the church is immoral, and priests who lie about what they know of their fellow priests' conduct with children should be prosecuted.
As a Catholic, I am dismayed and ashamed to learn that cardinals "vow that they will never tell secrets 'the revelation of which could cause damage or dishonor to the Holy Church.' " There can be nothing more damaging to the church than to find that, for the Vatican hierarchy, the institution is more important than the well-being of children in the care of its priests. We can only wonder what other secrets are being kept that would cause damage and dishonor to the church.
DORIS ISOLINI NELSON