Is Nothing Sacred?

Northeast Times [Trevose PA]
June 24, 2004

School’s out for summer, and as families hit the road to soak up the sun, the four R’s — reading, ’riting, ’rithmetic and religion — are about the last things on the minds of Archbishop Ryan High School students and their parents, but they should be outraged by accusations lodged against Ryan’s former president, the Rev. Charles Newman.

Arthur Baselice III, a 1996 Ryan graduate, has filed a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Philadelphia; Ryan; Cardinal Justin Rigali; Rigali’s predecessor, Anthony Bevilacqua; Newman’s order; and its provincial, the Rev. Thomas Luczak.

Newman allegedly sexually abused Baselice while he was a student, provided him with drugs, alcohol and pornographic videos while they engaged in masturbation and oral sex, and asked Baselice to urinate on him.

Newman, of course, is presumed innocent unless proved otherwise, and if, in fact, Baselice made it all up, he could and should be charged with slander and defamation of character, but one must wonder why Baselice would fabricate any of this.

If the charges are true, Newman’s behavior was repulsive, reprehensible and certainly un-Christian, and should be condemned, loud and clear, by Catholics and non-Catholics alike.

Shame on any and all innocent priests and parents of abuse victims who have engaged in a conspiracy of silence regarding the ultimate mistreatment of youngsters by priests. Bevilacqua, who is an attorney, certainly knows the law.

Lest any readers think we are Catholic bashing, we are not. We believe that when it comes to sexual abuse, a zero-tolerance policy should apply to ALL members of the clergy, be they Catholic, Jewish, Buddhist, Islamic or whatever.

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, corrupting the morals of innocent congregants must never be permitted — in the name of the Lord. ••


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