Column: What would you do if you had a chance to protect young girls?

Bangor Daily News

January 24, 2018

By Matthew Gagnon

I’d like to think I’d be different, though I hope I never find out.

I think virtually everyone in this country likes to think they would be different, too.

Yet it seems, despite that desire and belief in our own good intentions, truly horrendous things continue to happen in this country that were made possible by the complicit silence or cover up of people. People who at one point in their life thought to themselves, “if I was in that situation, I never would have let that happen.”

We are quick to judge our own nobility. When we learn that a woman was the victim of domestic abuse, people often declare that they would never let themselves or their children stay in a situation like that. Others tell themselves that if they knew, or even suspected, that someone they knew was being abused, they would say something and ensure that the abuse stopped.

When many of us – particularly everyday Catholics like myself – learned of the systematic abuse of children by clergy in the Catholic Church, and the subsequent cover up that protected the sexual predators who perpetrated the abuse, we were horrified. Not only by the abuse, but by the adults who knew that children were being victimized and did nothing, instead remaining silent and shuffling abusers to new locations where they could prey on others.

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