Monday, July 16, 2007

Sexual Abuse Cases in LA Reach Settlement

According to the New York Times, the massive church sex abuse case in Los Angeles is finally coming to an end:

Lawyers for more than 500 people who say they were abused by Roman Catholic clergy members said last night that they had settled their lawsuits against the Archdiocese of Los Angeles for $660 million. If approved, it will be by far the largest payout made by any single diocese since the clergy sexual abuse scandals first became public in Boston in 2002. It will dwarf the $85 million paid for 552 claims by the Archdiocese of Boston.
Later in the day, Cardinal Mahony apologized to people for the Catholic Church's crimes:
"There really is no way to go back and give them the innocence that was taken from them ... The one thing I wish I could give the victims, I cannot -- and that is a restoration to where they were originally."
Words escape me when I try to express the horror I feel at such a thing. More than 500 people filed lawsuits. That's 500 lives that were unspeakably impacted by the sick minds and crimes of others. Five hundred lives whose minds will be forever changed, who will never live a normal, unfettered life. Five hundred stories of heartbreak, anger, and despair. And that's just the people who filed a lawsuit. And that's just in Los Angeles.

Someone on Digg pointed out something obvious that I didn't really think of: None of that money is coming from the Vatican; instead it's coming from people's donations, their tithes. This is assuredly not what God had in mind when he asked us to give a tenth of what we earn to further His kingdom.

What drives a priest to molest a child? What drives his superiors, presumably men of God, to cover up the crimes? I don't really have a good answer for the second one, but in answer to the first one, to paraphrase a radio DJ I once heard, this seems like a possible expected outcome when you tell people not to have sex and stick them in a small room all the time where other people are forced to tell them their deepest darkest sins and secrets.

In Mark chapter 9, Jesus says the following:
And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck.
Amen to that. Amen to that...

1 comment:

Mark said...

The refusal of the Vatican to accept responsibility for the abuse committed by these priests is the main reason why I will never step foot in a Catholic Church again. My problem is with the Church, not God.