The Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee, Jerome E. Listecki sent out an email to his parishioners on June 25 to prepare them for the July 1st legally mandated release of a six-thousand-page trove of documents about molesting. At one point he wrote,
Needless to say, there are some terrible things described in many of the documents…… If you decide to go and review this material, prepare to be shocked. There are some graphic descriptions about the behavior of some of these priest offenders and one must be prepared before encountering such material.
I was really struck by their explanation for the Church’s failure in their Q&A. They used to think that they were dealing with a moral failing and now they realize it causes damage.
At some point you have to say, how frickin stupid and self-centered can an institution be? The answer is, very ethically stupid, when it is not held to account because the victims are weak and easy to intimidate.
Financial compensation will not make most victims whole. But it will help many and it sure as hell will convince the Church and other institutions to be more decent, or at least, less reckless, with the fates of children in their care. That is progress.
Update, July 2, 2013- Check out the comments on Archbishop Listecki’s message. I will at least give the diocese credit for leaving up so many critical comments. I wonder if they censored some others, and if so, which ones. Say what you will, I know of no orthodox Jewish group that would allow such comments to appear. Some choice examples include
- Kevin: I am troubled that you write “bad things happened to innocent children and youth.” It didn’t just happen. Faithless priests raped and molested them. They were targeted.
- Danno: Really, you thought abuse would have no long-lasting impact on a young child.
- Chris Roberts: You forgot to mention … [that] your predecessor shielded more than $50 million from litigation by hiding it in a cemetery fund.
- Marco: What is not revealed … is that the church has a strict policy that forbids any priest from calling the cops on another priest even if he caught him in the act.
- Martin: “My hope in voluntarily making these documents public..”
Voluntarily? Are you kidding me? The Archdiocese of Milwaukee has spent 2 years fighting to keep these documents from going public.
- Anonymous: “The documents show… Terrible things happened to innocent children.”
That statement reflects the continued attitude of the Catholic Church. Terrible things did not HAPPEN, they were DONE to them.
- Raphael Walker: I am puzzled to hear an archbishop indicate that of [the vows of ] chastity, poverty, and obedience, the first one was entirely mysterious to Catholic priests and bishops until only a few years ago.