Do You Trust the Catholic Church With Your Children?

When news of Pope Benedict’s resignation was released, the first thought that came to many minds was that it must be related to a child sexual abuse scandal. Are children safe within the Catholic Church - Sandy Springs and North Fulton included?


Today is Pope Benedict XVI's final day as the leader of Catholics around the world. Stories swirling around his resignation prompts many questions. The most pressing one: Are children safe within the Catholic Church - Sandy Springs and North Fulton included?

Last week, during a "CBS This Morning" town hall segment on the state of the Catholic Church, a mother said, “At this point, if I had to leave my child with a priest for him to watch him for the day, that would not happen.”

In full disclosure, I am Catholic. But as much as I love the holiness of the Catholic experience I have never been fully in step with the rules.

When news broke of Pope Benedict’s resignation, the first thought that came to my mind, and many others, was that it must be related to a child sexual abuse scandal. 

Not everyone agreed. A Sandy Springs Patch Facebook friend wrote: "...It must have been an incredibly difficult decision that he wrestled with over much prayer and advice.”

I had recently seen the HBO Documentary, “Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God.” It thoughtfully and painfully details decades-long sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic Church, starting in the 1960s with the sexual abuse of hundreds of boys at St. John’s School for the Death, in Milwaukee.

The film reported that $80 million was spent on rehabilitating and re-circulating 2000 priests between the 1950s and 1990s in Italy, France, Great Britain, South America and the Philippines.

When Pope Benedict was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, he led a Vatican office for 25 years that dealt with the most severe cases of sexual abuse by priests, the film noted. In 2001, he put forth an order that every child sexual abuse case, worldwide, be sent directly to him.

On Monday, the Pope accepted the resignation of a Britain senior cardinal amid reports of a sex and blackmail scandal. It seemed bizarre to hear Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the New York Archbishop so casually say on the "Good Morning America" program, “We get tons of rumors; and all these whispers, most of them are not true.”

In these years after the height of the sexual abuse scandals of the Catholic Church, it feels like the church may finally be reaching a tipping point and must acknowledge in a larger way the hypocrisy of celibacy, and separately that the church has been a go to place for many pedophiles guised as priests. Or is that acknowledgment a naïve, wishful thought? 

In any case, doubts remain in some parents' minds on how safe children are in the church, not just the mother mentioned above. When CBS analyst Frank Luntz, asked the entire town hall group, ”Who in this room would be uncomfortable leaving their child alone with a priest?” Several in the group raised their hand.

“The Catholic religion has to regain the trust of its followers,” a man said.

What do you think? Tell us in the comments.

jMichael March 01, 2013 at 07:33 PM
@Lizzie Farley You make a thoughtful comment. I would point out, however, that fatally flawed research is not to be accorded special dignity merely because it is the only research available. Nearly any instance of scientific research can be challenged. Indeed, it is the very hallmark of scientific research to invite challenge, to encourage challenge, to celebrate challenge as a renewed commitment to “get it right”. But a fatal flaw is just that. The study must be discounted. Beyond this, your point is well-made, and I appreciate it. Sadly, scrutiny of organizations seems to be an afterthought, triggered only after the sordid depredations of an organization have been exposed (The Boy Scouts, and Penn State come most immediately to mind). Scrutiny, in other words, has been less a preventative than a palliative. If Roman Catholicism has become the poster boy for diddling, it is not just because it is large, but because the betrayal… the Betrayal! … is so primal; so deep; so utterly perverse. Still; you are correct. The problem must be addressed generally. The opprobrium should not fall upon Roman Catholicism alone. Parental vigilance –constant parental vigilance- is an essential in all this. No longer shall the posture be one be an apathetic “Trust”, whether it be trust in a priest, a scout leader, or a team coach. Rather, it must be a commitment, a Sacred Commitment, to “constant vigilance”. Thanks for your thoughtful comment.
Kathy Powell March 01, 2013 at 08:48 PM
Trying again! http://www.cnn.com/video/?/video/bestoftv/2013/02/27/exp-around-the-world-priests-celibacy.cnn
Adrianne Murchison March 02, 2013 at 12:23 AM
That worked! Thanks, Kathy.
Suzy Rogers March 08, 2013 at 05:53 AM
Liberals are interested in sex abuse in the Catholic church from 40 and 50 years ago in the same way that Republicans were concerned about perjury in a civil case in the impeachment of Bill Clinton. It's hilarious. Go here to learn the truth about the liberal media's jihad of exaggeration, bias and misinformation about the Catholic church and old claims of sex abuse. http://www.themediareport.com/ Stop the bias! Stop the lies! Tell the truth! Speak truth to the power of the media!
jMichael March 08, 2013 at 12:32 PM
Give it a rest, Suzy. The Church has shown itself to be a foul nest of predatory pederasts and their depraved protectors. Squealing "liberal bias" has about as much credibility as does a bishop feigning piety. None but the brainwashed buy into its preposterous pomp and pretense. None but the sheep continue to bleat its babbling cockamamies. And most directly to the point, none but its most deluded apologists buy into its feeble attempts to root out the foul pestilence that is now its sordid legacy. One cannot, any longer, garner exoneration by bending the knee. And neither can one promote that exoneration by bleating "liberal bias". Nice try though.


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