Here we go again. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland has come out with their objections to the Equal Rights Amendment (L.D. 344) passing in the Maine Legislature. Many, if not all, of their arguments are absurd.

During the March 31, 2004, installation of Richard Malone as bishop of Maine, about 20 demonstrators gather across from Portland’s Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and hold childhood photos of people identifying themselves as victims of sexual abuse by priests. Malone served as bishop until 2012. Doug Jones/Staff Photographer, File

These objections come from a church that – in 2022! – relegates women to mere lower-level functionaries within its own structure. Are they still living in 1522?

What gives me pause, though, is the power this institution has in our public discourse.

Other than the Boy Scouts of America, I know of no other institution that, under its watch, has failed so completely to protect children from sexual abuse and then denied and covered it up.

Why the Catholic Church carries so much influence in our public discourse is beyond me. Why would anything they say or represent be given such weight when thousands of victims of their abuse still await compensation, monetary or otherwise?

Going forward, I would suggest that any opinion, quote or attribution given by the diocese include this disclaimer: “At the time of this report, the Catholic Church has had x number of charges of child sexual abuse brought against it in a court of law.”

I can’t imagine any other entity stained with such outrageous behavior and coverup being given such standing in the court of public opinion.

And now they boldly come forward to crush any meaningful legal protections women seek in our society as equal citizens? God help us – and them.

Harsh? Yes. But so is what so many under this church’s watch have endured.

Pete Gorski
South Portland

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