The Boston Herald isreporting that the Archdiocese of Boston quietly has begun asking pervert priests to request laicization and that eventually all diocesan priests with credible allegations, mostly those covered under the recent settlement, will be asked to join them.
You’d think that victims’ advocates and lawyers would be happy about this. You’d be wrong.
Fr. Tom Doyle—the priest who did a good job blowing the whistle on the Scandal in the 1980s but has wandered off the reservation since—characterized it as the big, bad, Church trampling on the poor priests:
“(The Church is) banking on their naivete and the fact that they’ve been trained to be docile servants of the system and not to consider their own rights and the importance of due process,” he said.
Excuse me, but these are child molesters we’re talking about here, guys who seduced and raped pre-teen and teenage kids. The Archdiocese is following the policy laid down by the US bishops and modified and approved by the Vatican. By definition, that’s due process.
The other objection is that now you’ll have these molesters thrown out of Church property, no longer under the control or oversight of the Church.
“You cut these guys loose, where are they going to go?” plaintiffs lawyer Carmen Durso said, noting most accused priests have not been criminally convicted. “While I don’t like the church paying them, so long as they’re under their jurisdiction we know where they are and what they’re doing,” he said. ... “If they just laicize them, they can become school teachers, soccer coaches or Boy Scout leaders,” Durso said. “They’ve got to find a medium security monastery and put them in a place where they can’t offend.”
The Church is not a penal institution. She is not a place to warehouse undesirables or criminals. Would we hear the same complaints about a school that fired a teacher who abused kids? This is the United States: if you have not been convicted of a crime, you cannot be locked up.
Durso’s worry about the priests becoming soccer coaches or teachers is fallacious if the schools or sports leagues actually do background checks. What kind of school would hire a guy without inquiring into his previous employment and doing a criminal background check?
Once again, the Church is the bad guy. Damned if she does, damned if she doesn’t. At first, the criticism was that the Church should be throwing these guys out, that they use their position as priest to lure unsuspecting victims into a position of trust. Now, the Church should be keeping these guys as priests so they can be watched. Who exactly is goin to do the watching? Are we going to hire armed guards? Put bars on the doors? If a pervert priest wants to walk out the door of his rectory and go abuse someone, he’s going to do so. The Church can do nothing to stop him. Like I said, if they haven’t been convicted of a crime and sent to jail, no one can imprison them or keep them away from society.