In his June 9 Maine Voices column, “It is time for Catholic leaders to go,” William Slavick serves up a bitter platter of typical anti-Catholic slop.

To be sure, a few in the Catholic hierarchy failed in their duty to protect innocent laity from abusive priests. However, what I and many other Catholics take issue with are the false accounts, supported by hearsay, that indict the pope and nearly all bishops as either directly responsible for, or at the very least complicit in, every act of sexual abuse.

The facts on record show that the vast majority of bishops handled abuse cases well, usually sending offending priests to rehabilitation. Most of these priests were then released and termed “cured” by teams of mental health professionals.

Mr. Slavick blames Church leadership for many other things, including rejection of women’s equality. A celibate male priesthood is not a rejection of women’s equality. Equality does not purport to be sameness. As a Catholic woman, I have read, in context, church documents that affirm the dignity and equality of women. I have had the honor of working on committees with a member of the hierarchy, Bishop Richard Malone, who has a keen understanding of and sensitivity to these issues. The bishop has always communicated and acted toward me and others in the most affirming and respectful ways.

Finally, it is disingenuous to call for the pope’s resignation and dissolution of the hierarchy when it is clearly motivated by a political agenda. The Gospel commands us to love one another in spirit and in truth. Truth and love are never served by political or personal agendas that seek to deceive and divide. Isn’t that exactly what the abusive priests did?

 


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