March 09, 2006

Advocates for clergy sex abuse victims aim criticism at bishops

Gallup Independent

By Elizabeth Hardin-Burrola
Staff Writer

TEMPE, Ariz. Two outspoken advocates for victims of clergy sex abuse were in Arizona this weekend, leveling heated criticism against leaders of the Roman Catholic Church.

David Clohessy and the Rev. Thomas Doyle spoke about sex abuse in the church in a presentation sponsored by Call To Action, a liberal Catholic organization. The event, which was Sunday afternoon at Tempe's Episcopal Church of the Epiphany, drew an audience of about 100 people. The mostly older audience included a number of individuals who said they were victims of clergy abuse.

Clohessy is the national director for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. Doyle is the Dominican priest and canon lawyer who authored a 1985 report on sexual abuse for the Catholic Church. In the 1980s, he predicted that legal settlements for abuse cases would eventually exceed $1 billion dollars, a prediction that has since come true. Since the sex abuse scandal broke nationally in 2002, Doyle has emerged as one of the most vocal critics of the church's handling of the scandal.

In his presentation on Sunday, Doyle had blistering criticism of the church hierarchy and of "clericalism," a reference to Catholic clergy at the expense of faithful lay Catholics. Clohessy criticized what he sees as the Catholic bishops' continuing failure to root out sexual abuse in their dioceses and their failure to reach out to abuse victims in a just and compassionate manner.

Posted by kshaw at March 9, 2006 07:55 AM