May 13, 2006

Church still hasn't gotten the message

Brockton Enterprise

Every time we think the Catholic Church in the United States has done everything it can to make amends for allowing priests to abuse thousands of children over many decades, something happens to make us wonder if Catholic leaders have learned any lesson at all.

The latest affront comes in the form of U.S. Roman Catholic leaders aggressively attacking lawyers who represent sexual abuse victims. The group of archbishops and advisers is running a campaign to portray the lawyers as money-hungry ambulance-chasers. They are telling abuse victims to deal directly with the church and save the legal fees. They also are battling legislation in several states that would make it easier for sexual abuse victims to sue.

This approach is wrong and will likely backfire against the church. We have no doubt that some of the lawyers representing sexual abuse victims are in it for the money. This is their job, after all. But without aggressive lawyers who fought to uncover the deep, dark secrets of the church, thousands of abuse victims and their families would continue to suffer in silence. It isn't the fault of the lawyers or the legal system that the church has been forced to pay more than $1.5 billion to abuse victims. It is the fault of church leaders cardinals, bishops and others who knew that children were being systematically abused and did nothing to stop it.

Posted by kshaw at May 13, 2006 07:33 AM