Sins & Silence
Letters to the Editor
Why Complaints about TH Series?

By the Reverend Thomas P. Doyle, O.P.
Telegraph Herald [Dubuque IA]
March 19, 2006

[See the main page of the Sins & Silence series for links to all the articles and letters to the editor.]

The Telegraph Herald is to be commended for the open and honest series on clergy sex abuse in the Archdiocese of Dubuque. The truth of the abuse that has gone on for decades is extremely painful but it had to come out.

The Catholic Church cannot hide its shameful secrets and continue to claim to be a moral and religious leader at the same time. The church is not about appearances and rituals. It should be about truth, compassion and justice.

In reading your readers' responses, I was struck by the anger and hostility of some. It seems the Catholic Church did not do a very good job of instructing some of its congregants about authentic religious priorities. The most important people in the church are those most marginalized, most harmed and often most forgotten. The victims of the church's own sexual abuse are these.

Why is this painful truth about our church so disturbing to those who are upset? Is it perhaps because this truth is a shock to the system and a threat to the childish religious security some find in believing that everything is always the way we want it to be in our religion?

The sexual-abuse scandal is real and far more extensive than people want to believe.

The series did not open old wounds. The wounds never closed and only got more painful over the years. If healing is possible, your series will be a major step in seeing it happen.

By the Reverend Thomas P. Doyle, O.P.
9700 Woodland Glen Court
Vienna, Va.

Editor's note: The author was ordained in Dubuque in 1970. A canon lawyer, he co-wrote a 1985 report urging U.S. bishops to form a national policy on sexual abuse.


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