It’s important that we have accountability among bishops and priests and that we use all just tools at our disposal to prevent a repeat of the Scandal. But some measures designed to fix the problem will only create new ones. Take, for example, a proposal to open the personnel files of every priest in the country to outside auditors. The danger in this action is immense.
Note, we’re not just talking about priests who have been accused of something, but every priest. Imagine that a co-worker in your place of employment has been accused of abusing his kids. Tragic, yes. But in response the company mandates that all employee now have to be fingerprinted and submit all kinds of personal information, and that this along with your personnel file will now be given to an outside auditor who is only accountable to your bosses. Now imagine that this co-worker was abusing kids in the company day care, and that your bosses not only knew about it, but did nothing to stop him.
How would you feel about the disclosure of your information now?
Let’s keep this straight: It’s not the vast majority of priests in this country who are responsible for the Scandal. About 4 percent of priests since the 1960s have abused kids, but about 66 percent of bishops engaged in coverup. So why is the 96 percent of priests being made to suffer and feel like criminals?