March 03, 2005

A church in crisis

Toledo Blade

THIS is a tough time to be a Catholic in Toledo. Sexual abuse by priests has rocked the church to its foundation, nationally and locally. Another priest is charged with murdering a nun in a bizarre ritualistic crime 25 years ago at a local hospital. Dwindling enrollment and membership has forced the bishop to close several schools and churches.

So it would seem foolish to aggravate the substantial public relations damage that has already been done to the Catholic Diocese of Toledo by engaging in conduct that suggests the church has been less than forthcoming in the police investigation of the slaying in 1980 of Sister Margaret Ann Pahl, or in the broader inquiry into criminal activity in the diocese.

But Toledo police believe they have been stymied in their attempts to examine all records pertaining to Father Gerald Robinson, who is accused of the murder.

Authorities believe that information and files have been withheld perhaps out of a sense of obligation to Canon 489 of the Catholic Church, which requires that a secret archive be maintained for the storage of records related to allegations of crimes committed by clerics.

Posted by kshaw at March 3, 2005 07:22 AM