Letter from Bill O'Sullivan of the Bridgeport Votf to the Editor of the Norwalk Hour

Publisher [Norwalk CT]
February 8, 2004

To the Editor:

There's something disingenuous in the charge of hypocrisy directed at Voice of the Faithful by the diocesan liaison who attends VOTF meetings in Norwalk.

VOTF welcomes his presence at those meetings and is receptive to any ideas he may want to share. The organization openly and transparently promotes an essential principle - that the laity is as much a part of the Catholic Church as the hierarchy is.

Of course, openness and transparency are not characteristics that the institutional church is willing to adopt for itself. We know that in the diocese of Bridgeport and in other dioceses around the world, there had been, for too many years, a "see no evil, hear no evil" attitude toward the outrageous evil of the sexual abuse of children by some members of the clergy. The hierarchy turned a deaf ear and a blind eye toward these abuses and, as we know from disclosures over the past two years, reassigned these priests to other locations.

As a former member of the news media, I am proud of the diligence and professionalism of the Boston Globe and other publications that exposed this scandal. They awakened members of a sleeping laity who now are trying to awaken a sleeping hierarchy.

I wonder if the diocesan liaison would be willing to convey a thought to the bishop. Consider a recommendation to all parishes in the diocese to set aside one Mass at a given time on a specific Sunday during Lent to pray for the victims of abuse perpetrated by priests, to recognize the enormous wounds they have suffered, and to encourage an open and honest dialogue among lay people, priests and the hierarchy.

I am confident that the vast majority of priests would welcome this. And I know that I, as a layman who is as Christian as any bishop, would perceive it as a major step in the right direction.

Bill O'Sullivan


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