Vague assurances

Vague assurances

A priest who had abused a young woman when she was 14 later wrote a letter of apology acknowledging his culpability, but the archdiocese decided not to give it to her, instead having a chancery official meet with her. Would the letter have made that big of a difference in her life? My first impression is not. What could a few sentences do? But then I thought that perhaps reading the actual words of her abuser as he acknowledged his guilt and asked for forgiveness may have helped her to finally shed her victim status.

On the face of it, the letter is a cople of paragraphs long and there doesn’t seem to be a good reason not to give it to the woman rather than set up some meeting with some chancery official. Until you think about the legal manueverings.

    ’‘It sounds like legitimate advice that a lawyer would give his client: Don’t do anything that would admit your liability,’’ said Arnold R. Rosenfeld, former chief counsel of the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers. ‘‘It would be up to the archdiocese to proceed on moral or legal grounds.’‘

Once again, financial and legal considerations trumped doing the right thing. Perhaps if the right thing had been done for this woman—and all the other victims—from the start, they wouldn’t be looking to sue the archdiocese.

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli

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