March 07, 2006

Amid the dark stories, reason for optimism

Telegraph Herald

Mar 5, 2006


The Telegraph Herald today begins a week-long series, "Sins and Silence: Betrayal and Response."

It concerns past incidents of sexual abuse by priests in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Dubuque, last month's $5 million settlement with victims, the impact on current priests and laypeople and the church's recent efforts to prevent future incidents.

Some readers complained, "Why dredge up all this up when it happened so long ago? Nearly all these priests are dead."

Yes, most of those priests are gone. However, many of their victims are very much alive. And thousands of people - from Archbishop Jerome Hanus down to the parishioner in the pew - today are impacted by what happened as many as 50 years ago.

If, indeed, all this series did was recount heinous incidents of decades ago, it would be of limited benefit. However, in telling the stories of just some of the victims, readers should gain important insight into the patterns of these incidents, the church hierarchy's inappropriate response and the emotional scars victims carry with them every day.

It is our hope that readers will have a better understanding of why the pain is so deep for so many victims. A crime committed against a child is terrible; when the perpetrator is someone trusted and revered, the pain is magnified.

Posted by kshaw at March 7, 2006 07:49 PM