Received by email, 4.1.2010.

* * *


Thomas P. Doyle, J.C.D., C.A.D.C.

Holy Thursday, April 1, 2010

The reports that Pope Benedict had mishandled a clergy sex abuse case when he was archbishop of Munich have sharpened the focus of international attention on the Pope, the Vatican and the seemingly perpetual problem of clergy sex abuse in the Catholic Church. This revelation coincided with what some believed might be the culmination of the furor in Ireland by the pope’s Pastoral Letter to the Irish People.  Questions about the Munich case and the mixed reception of the papal letter have guaranteed that critical interest will intensify rather than recede.

First, a brief summary of what I suspect happened in Munich back in 1980.  The priest in question was credibly accused of sexually molesting two minors.  His bishop arranged for him to go from his home diocese, Essen, to Munich, to receive treatment.  Treatment reports and a strong recommendation that he not be allowed contact with minors were submitted orally and in writing to an auxiliary bishop of Munich.  Nevertheless the priest was assigned to parish work in Munich even while he was in therapy.  The Munich archdiocese reported that the Vicar General, who was second in command in the archdiocese, decided to place the priest back in a parish.  Although the former Vicar General claimed it was totally his responsibility and that then Archbishop Ratzinger had no part in this decision, this is highly unlikely in light of the Church’s own law as well as the unwritten yet equally powerful customary practices within church administration.

Archbishop Ratzinger’s direct involvement in the acceptance of the priest from another diocese and his assignment of the same priest to ministry in a Munich parish was mandatory according to Church regulations.  The Catholic governmental system is such that the archbishop has full power and everyone under him functions on delegated authority or power.  Only the head of a diocese or archdiocese, the bishop or archbishop, has the authority to accept an outside priest or to make an assignment.  More important though is the fact that this priest was being sent for therapy resulting from his admission that he sexually abused two minors.  Even if aspects of the bureaucratic process were handled by priests in inferior positions, it is improbable that the archbishop was not informed and involved in the dealings with a priest who admitted to such a serious transgression.

Then-archbishop Ratzinger probably handled this case the way similar cases were dealt with throughout the Church at that time.  True, there were internal procedures in place to investigate and deal with reports of clergy abuse of minors, but these were very rarely used.  The common approach was to maintain secrecy, insist on therapy in a few cases and re-assign without disclosing the priest’s background to the new assignment. This unofficial substitute process, common throughout the Catholic world, has been the reason for the criticism. Thousands of civil litigations have been initiated because this departure from the approved procedures constitutes negligence according to the secular courts.

The scandal, as it is commonly referred to, has finally found its way to the pope’s doorstep.  This may have been his first direct contact with clergy sexual abuse but it was clearly not his last.  After leaving Munich in 1982 Cardinal Ratzinger assumed leadership of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, ironically the present-day descendant of the Roman Inquisition.  As Prefect, or head, he was responsible for processing the petitions of priests seeking release from priestly obligations.  His office also handled cases of sexual abuse sent to the Vatican by the world’s bishops.  Thus he had some idea of the nature and scope of clergy abuse.  Since most cases never entered into the church’s administrative or judicial system, it is safe to assume that the prefect was not accurately aware of the full extent of cases throughout the world.

Since the first public revelation in the U.S. in 1984 Catholic officialdom has responded to questions and criticism with a variety of explanations.  These have ranged from accusations of media Catholic bashing and a rejection of the Church’s traditional sexual morality to claims that the bishops just didn’t know much about sexual abuse or were led astray by their medical advisors.  Those who have criticized the hierarchy have been accused of dissent, disloyalty or worse.  Victims and their attorneys have been demonized or told to forgive and move on.  None of this rhetoric has stemmed the continued revelation of more victims and more cover-ups.  The Pope and the bishops have not been able to move from defense to offense or even to guarded neutrality.  The public apologies and expressions of regret and shame that have come from bishops have been rejected by the victims as insincere and self-serving.  In his letter to the Irish people, released on March 19, Pope Benedict expressed what certainly sounded like sincere sorrow and regret.  Throughout his letter however, he injected references to the institutional Church and even put harm done to the victims on equal footing with the loss of respect and confidence in the Church.  This adds to the conviction that at the end of the day this is not primarily about healing the victims or purging the Church of the source of the pain, but about power, papal and episcopal power, and the assurance that more of it won’t be relinquished.

Sexual abuse of the vulnerable by clergy has been a shameful aspect of Catholic culture for centuries.  Church defenders claim it has always been a minuscule percentage of the clerical population, but the numbers are irrelevant.  What is urgent and destructive has been the way the Church leadership, from the papacy on down to local bishops, have responded.  “For the good of the Church” victims have been ignored, silenced and rebuffed, and criminal offenders have been quietly sent off to new assignments, often to offend again.  “For the good of the Church” those harmed by the clergy have been led to cooperate in their own exploitation, convinced by their trusted leaders that the institution’s image and the exalted status of the priests is of greater value than healing or justice.  Though other institutions, public and private, religious and secular, have all experienced sexual abuse and other forms of internal corruption, the Catholic Church is unique.  It has used its immense spiritual power and its absolute authority to control victims to the extent of persuading them to be part of their own cover-up.

There will continue to be abuse by the clergy as long as the ecclesiastical environment that allowed it to flourish continues as a closed, hierarchical system enshrouded in secrecy and sustained by the power of fear.  As sexual abuse cases surface in country after country the patterns of cover-up, collusion and denial are the same.  This is not proof of an international conspiracy or a secret order sent to all bishops as some would have it, but of something more radical.  The world-wide outrage, the seemingly countless lawsuits and the close examination by various academics are directed at the status quo in three areas: the essential role of the clerical sub-culture, hierarchical governance and the efficacy of the theological dogmas that support them.  The most realistic response is also the most fearful to the hierarchy and to many clergy and laity as well: a thorough, fearless examination of the heretofore untouchable system of power and control and the closed, secretive and often privileged world at the heart of the institutional church.  There is really only one vital question:  why is this system and the men who sustain it more important than the emotional, physical and spiritual welfare of a single, innocent child?

Pope Benedict’s letter to Ireland was remarkable in that he confirmed what most had already known: that favoritism of the clergy and “misplaced concern for the reputation of the Church and the avoidance of scandal” are among the elements of the crisis.  Clericalism, the belief that clerics, especially priests and bishops, are fundamentally different from ordinary people and entitled to deference, obedience and unquestioned respect because of their exalted state, is the source and support for these aspects of causality.  Clericalism has many faces.  It is the delusion that priests speak for the Almighty and therefore are entitled to special treatment and even immunity from accountability for criminal behavior.  It is the source of the conviction held by many, including top-level Vatican officials, that the legal systems of secular society are subordinate to Canon law, the Catholic Church’s own system of governance.

It is unlikely that Pope Benedict would ever allow a close scrutiny of the clerical-hierarchical world.  In his letter to the Irish he leveled unprecedented criticism directly at the bishops but stopped far short of demanding radical accountability nor did he dismiss the most egregious architects of the cover-up.  To undertake the unspeakable and allow an objective, fearless and radical examination into the causal relationship between the “scandal” and the system would lead to a risk that probably extends beyond the imagination of all bishops, namely the dismantling of the very structures that assure the existence of their world.

Although clergy sexual abuse has plagued the church for centuries, the current reaction from the body of believers, but especially the laity, has been significantly different from anything in the past.  This reaction has had a seriously detrimental impact on the essential aspects of the church’s operations in the world.

The persistent question of where this will all lead does not end with radical or earth-shattering answers if one considers it with pragmatic realism.  The pope will not resign and it is unlikely that there will be a widespread purge of every bishop who has engineered a cover-up.  A few bishops will submit to pressure to resign, but it is unlikely that any will be submitted to any disciplinary measures or if they are it will not be made public.  Catholics who have been sexually abused, encouraged by the current wave of publicity and assisted by survivor support groups, will continue to overcome the fear and shame that had paralyzed them in diocese after diocese.  The Vatican and the bishops will continue to respond defensively, perhaps with more creative yet still unconvincing excuses.

The end result is already well underway.  The image of pope and bishop is steadily shrinking because the deference, respect and credibility essential to this image has been severely damaged and continues to erode in spite of all efforts to regain or at least hold on to what is left of their former stature.  Catholics are walking away in ever increasing numbers convinced that they don’t need the control of the institutional Church for spiritual sustenance. The sexual abuse scandal may not be the only reason but it certainly is the dominant reason for the diminishing role and influence of institutional Catholicism.  The Church will survive but in the long run it won’t be in the form of a gilded monarchy with its stratified vision of humankind.  In all likelihood it will be the Church as community and hopefully this Church will hold as its most important members those who are most vulnerable, most rejected and most in need…..not of control, but of love.


  1. Deanna Leonti Says:

    An Institution church based upon a faith, should NEVER supercede the faithful church.

  2. John A. Dick Says:

    What an excellent reflection by Tom Doyle!

  3. Bud Says:

    I sure hope you are roung about resignation & B-16 only escapes the heat at the Vatican kitchen with only his red slippers on & we never hear of him again and soon.

  4. Thomas Says:

    It is ironic how and inquiry can bring such fear to Rome. Justice only asks for the truth and restoration of what was stolen. When what is lost cannot be regained, there is change…for the victims and the survivors, this transformation was not good—for the abuser, it was moral decadence.

  5. Jeannie Cole Says:

    For a long time I have felt there is one main reason why the Church has been reluctant to release Pedophile Priests and that is nothing but pure economics. In most archdiocese, I understand that the majority of the bill for a future priest’s education is picked up by the archdiocese. If this is true, the archdiocese has a very large investment in every priest, and of course the Church isn’t about to put out money, unless it expects to get something back. I have often wondered how much the average parish priest brings in in offerings over the course of his life? How many thousands of Masses for the Dead or Masses for other special occasions are said at about $100 a piece over the course of a priest’s lifetime? I would well imagine that most priests are worth millions to the archdiocese. If this speculation is true, how can the average archdiocese afford to pay for a priest’s education, only to be forced into letting him go if accusations of Pedophilia are brought against him? Believe me, I am not condoning the system, but rather offering a possibility for why bishops are prepared to risk criminal investigations, if and when their pedophile priests are accused of rape, sodomy and a variety of abuses.

  6. Mary Says:

    “I had a dream.” In 2001, before the sex scandal broke in the U. S. and while I was still a average, practicing Catholic, I had a dream. In the dream I was talking with my mother and grandmother in front of a Catholic church. I glanced up at the glorious steeple of the church, shining in the noon day sun, and saw pieces of the steeple begin to fall. Then more of it crumbled and fell. My grandmother, who was not Catholic, ran into the church and came out carrying a pyx containing the Eucharist. She took the pyx around the corner into a low, cinder block structure which was attached to the bigger church. It was a nondescript building with no exterior markings or religious symbols to identify it. My grandmother came back then to join us in front of the church.
    When I awoke, I wondered why I would dream such a thing but I thought I understood some of the meaning. The steeple, for example, represents the hierarchical part of the church’s present structure. There are other symbols to be interpreted, too.

    As Tom says in this letter, the hierarchy’s image is steadily shrinking and credibility has been severely damaged and continues to erode. We are seeing a diminishing of the role and influence of institutional Catholicism. The Catholic church is undergoing a permanent change. It will not go back to what we knew as children. The church will continue but not in splendor and privilege; rather, it will be a humble church, often not recognized or marked, but preserving the Eucharist.

  7. Deanna Leonti Says:

    Eucharist is not a ritual known only to the RCC.
    Eucharist means Thanksgiving, it is a way for those who are in communion in thought to give
    Thanks/Celebrate to a Higher Being for the gift of Being that the Creator gave to the Being.
    Many Religions have some form of a meal they called “Sacred” that gives honor/ thanksgiving to their Supreme Being.

  8. Tim Walsh Says:

    Well, I can see further than this and will say, “the Vatican will become a Museum, though if Trump has his way, it will be a Hotel Condominium”. Which ever way, it certainly has had and seen its day.

  9. Deanna Leonti Says:

    I don’t know why some want to hold their breadth hoping that the RCC Inc. will do the right thing.
    It’s not going to happen why? Because it is in their make-up, a psychological genetic flaw that has been in bred through the centuries.

  10. Rich G Says:

    The sarcastic comments on this site is a clear indication of the anger and rage many of you hold, may god bless all you tortured souls and one day live in peace.

  11. Alfred S Says:

    Obviously some of our commenters are full of anger and rage that rationalizing with their sick minds is a waste of time, I recommend therapy.

  12. Francis Piderit Says:

    Tom, thank you for posting this important perspective. If you read this, could I ask you to issue a clarification. In the polemical debate over the past few weeks concerning Benedict’s awareness of the extent of the scandal, his defenders have made much of the fact that he did not direct that all abuses be sent to Rome until 2001. They argue that only then did he become aware of the extent of the scandal. However, my reading of your paper on crimen sollicitationis suggests that sexual abuse was also included among the “grave” sins covered by the crimen procedures. If that is true, then in addition to cases involving solicitation in the confessional, such as the Lawrence Murphy case, any cases involving sexual abuse should also have been forwarded to Rome much early, if the policy was followed. But I may have this wrong. Your clarification would be appreciated. I know this is a minor point, but in the polemical battle, every point counts. Francis Piderit Voice of the Faithful New York

  13. Lorraine Ferrick Says:

    I agree with the fact that the Catholic church will never do the right thing..i.e. change.
    It is in their DNA. The sad part is they are taught there is no other way…that is a lie.
    There are other churches of your choice where you are free to worship God in your own way,
    and not everything dictated to you from womb to tomb. God gave us a brain…I say Use IT.
    Put your energy in another direction . And after your have died it is too late…you make
    your decisions while “living” which determine your eternal destany. What a sad, sad
    situation involving so many innocent people who are all wrapped up with the Catholic
    false doctrines. Thank God “HE” gave us a choice…what we want to believe.

  14. Jaime Romo Says:

    I think Tom is, again, spot on in his assessment. But regardless of the ongoing slow deconstruction of any church, I believe that our collective healing and transformation is linked to how healed and transformed we, particularly survivors, are. I see this as a huge and challenging opportunity for us to usher in a shift in global consciousness and behavior by being the change we wish to see in the world. Any takers?

  15. Deanna Leonti Says:

    I am in!

  16. Sebastian Says:

    Here are some stats for you before you crucify just one institution, namely the RCC, because for what I see families should be the first to be crucified according to their misdeeds for their own children! So here you go:
    1. A report of child abuse is made every ten seconds.
    2. Almost five children die everyday as a result of child abuse. More than three out of four are under the age of 4.
    3. It is estimated that between 60-85% of child fatalities due to maltreatment are not recorded as such on death certificates.
    4. 90% of child sexual abuse victims know the perpetrator in some way; 68% are abused by family members.
    5. Child abuse occurs at every socioeconomic level, across ethnic and cultural lines, within all religions and at all levels of education.

    Do you want to be just, or just you have some bad feelings against the Church? Don’t be a hypocrite! Are you going to go after the States allowing their teachers to abuse their students? Are you going to go after the scouts masters for abusing their scouts? Are you going to “crucify” parents for abusing their own children? So on, so on, so on …

    If you don’t like the RCC, fine, but be just, otherwise you are becoming exactly what you are trying to fight!

    God bless!

  17. Mona V Says:

    Tom Doyle is one of the most credible voices on this subject; he is a priest, and a man of integrity. I think anger and rage are the healthy responses to this issue, and victims who can voice their rage in this forum should be supported. That is what this site is about right? So I don’t understand Alfred S.’s comment.

    As to the fact that sexual abuse of children is not unique to the RCC, absolutely true. But that doesn’t excuse the fact of the systemic, systematic cover-up by the bishops of the RCC. This seems unique to this particular organization, as is the scope of their power over civil authorities…look at Ireland. In Dublin reports about abusive priests that were made to the police were re-routed to the bishop, and the civil rights of the victims were completely undermined. What other organisation has exercised that kind of power and control, and gotten away with it for centuries?

  18. Deanna Leonti Says:

    I wonder if there are other statistics, like showing what % of the the abusers were from Catholic families?
    Just being in that RCC environment breeds dysfunction and spreads like a virus!.
    Its in the air, the water, the smells, the rituals, the artwork…
    How can anyone stand it?, How can anyone put their faith & trust into some man up on stage proclaiming the word of God, and in turn rapes you & your children spiritually, physically, mentally & financially?
    Hiding behind that man’s cold stone wall & lukewarm glory to his god aka the Pope?
    You have got to be kidding me?
    After all The RCC Inc. “was” one of the leading world Religions that lays claim to a greatness compared to none other.
    They have had millions of people in their responsibility, and some want to defend that? what kind of people defend this blasphemous SIN?, defend these men who Covered-Up, defend CRIMES AGAINST GOD!, AGAINST HUMANKIND, AGAINST the INNOCENT
    “There are none so blind as those who will not see”. ( research your Church history)

    Do not rely on this corrupted church for your faith!, your faith was there long before this church even existed!
    Take your faith into your own hands & do not be led by these wolves in your sheepskin for their shepherd clothes.

    If RCC is innocent what have they or you to fear?

  19. jay31 Says:

    Mary (see above comment) & I and several others including three retired Disciples of Christ ministers held a rally in front of the Cathedral in Indianapolis. We had one radio and one tv presence there.

    The rally focused on support of those abused by Catholic clergy and on advocacy for change in the structure of the church. I have long believed the importance of a remark Pope John XXIII reportedly made to someone who inquired why he had not changed something the questioiner knew he personally favored. According to Thomas Cahill in his biography of John, the pope shrugged, spread his arms in a sign of futility and said, “I’m only the pope!”

    Who has power overthe pope you ask; only the Roman Curia, the Vatican Bueaurocrats of the Vatican who’s constant concern is the defense and protection of the church from her “enemies”.
    If anyone disagrees with their view that person is seen as an enemy. Thus, survivors of sexual abuse who speak out against priests, bishops, and even the pope, are enemies to be defended against.

  20. Sebastian Says:

    Dear Deanna Leonti, I recommend that you seek some psychological help! I really mean it, your anger is so great that is slowly eating you up. Is that what you want for yourself?

    RCC is like any other institution, made of human beings. Do you know any institution that’s perfect? Let me know! If you choose to journey in your faith by yourself, it is your choice, but don’t angry because others choose differently.

    Try to find some peace in your hearth otherwise your life is already over!

    God bless

  21. Deanna Leonti Says:

    I will when you will!,
    Anger? I am just telling it the way I see it. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to read it.
    You see Sebastian I was once a devoted Catholic like yourself. I went to Mass 7x aweek, with the Latin Mass on Sundays. I did everything & followed all the Catechism rules to be a good & faithful Catholic. But, when some things didn’t jive and when I felt some things were right I questioned them, and being a good & faithful Catholic RCC tried to pacify my curiosity on why certain things were taboo to wanted to dialogue talk to about & understand a little more. So, I thought well if this RCC is all that it claims to be, and is Divinely inspired than what is wrong with the Truth being allowed in for some refreshing Light? What harm is in that? If the RC church and clergy are all that it claims to be than transparentcy won’t hurt a bit, and maybe more healing can arise from coming out of the dark and into the light about the Crimes Covered up by this supposedly Divinely Inspired church that JC built?.
    Why are so many Catholics Anti-Clergy Abuse Victim supporters?
    Oh, the answer doesn’t lay with in its followers, it lies with their RCC Heil-An-Archy leaders!.
    RCCtell me why you prefer to defend your Christian occult?
    Who abuses and expects the sheep to be doormats?

  22. Deanna Leonti Says:

    Oh, I forgot Sebastian,

    You must have gone to the same priest that I went to. Fr. James Swenson told me the same thing in the confessional to seek Psychiatric help when I question some things that I didn’t understand.

    He didn’t have a doctorate to asses me & my issues, do you?.

  23. Instead of Speaking With the Passive Voice, Benedict Needs More Active Bishops « Later On Says:

    […] Despite the claim by New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan that “No one has been more vigorous in cleansing the Church of the effects of this sickening sin than the man we now call Pope Benedict XVI,” that title belongs to Father Thomas P. Doyle, who has been fighting to get the hierarchy to clean up its act since the 1980s. Writes Doyle this past week: […]

  24. Sebastian Says:

    Dear Deanna, the only thing I want to say that you are an angry person, one doesn’t need a Ph.D. to make such an assessment only by just looking at your writing.

    I do not like when anybody uses people like me, actually the abused once, to fight their own demons. So, please, if you want to help abused children, do so! Don’t use us for your personal agenda, please!

    God bless!

  25. Deanna Leonti Says:


    How do you feel that I used you?, why do you feel that way?
    What personal agenda do you think I have?, if not for the abused?
    I am not a mono-tone person, people who are scare me. Being a perfectionist at all costs is not normal, and another scarey false persona.
    Can’t take anymore Lukewarmness coming from RCC Inc.
    RCC promises & words mean nothing to me.
    I no longer wish to be hopeful for something that will not materialize.
    Too much at stake for RCC to lose, where can pure truth come from?
    not from any of the RCC leaders that I see.
    That’s my opinion, not gospel. I don’t live behind an iron curtain, nor belong to any religious affiliation who wants censor what is said, or read.
    However, for some unknown reason when someone like me tries to post on Catholic Blogs, Blogs that are run by some kind of Christian affiliation the post is censored, but not censored to those same Christians who want to post in favor of their belief system.
    So all are not created Equal as such would be the image of RCC theology on God.
    Do you think God created bias or unbias opinions?

  26. Sebastian Says:

    Dear Deanna, it is not just you who is trying to fight with the RCC, and they do it for different reasons too. I will try to help you se it.

    From above article: “There will continue to be abuse by the clergy as long as the ecclesiastical environment that allowed it to flourish continues as a closed, hierarchical system enshrouded in secrecy and sustained by the power of fear.”

    [Doyle presumes that clergy abuse will continue to happen as long as RCC remains a closed, meaning: not reachable by everybody like married people and women, hierarchical, meaning: organized throughout history (I am not sure what’s wrong with that), enshrouded in secrecy, meaning: that you don’t know everything (what? in families everyone knows everything? always? how about our government? do you know everything what’s happening there), power of fear, meaning: that you may go to hell if you don’t become a good person? (very scary!?)]

    Next sentence: “As sexual abuse cases surface in country after country the patterns of cover-up, collusion and denial are the same.” [Why would you expect them to be different? it is the same institution, centrally governed. It is very predictable! Is the author trying to built some suspense?]

    Next sentence: “This is not proof of an international conspiracy or a secret order sent to all bishops as some would have it, but of something more radical. The world-wide outrage, the seemingly countless lawsuits and the close examination by various academics are directed at the status quo in three areas: the essential role of the clerical sub-culture, hierarchical governance and the efficacy of the theological dogmas that support them.” [countless lawsuits: anybody suing family members? (no, there is no money!), anybody suing Government for the teaches and other numerous employees? (no, it is forbidden!), anybody suing other religious entities? (no, because it was probably their own parent, or sibling, or a family member?). Clerical sub-culture, meaning celibacy, please tell me what anthropologist or human development scholar said that pedophilia is caused by celibacy?, please let me know!, hierarchical governance causes pedophilia? theological dogmas cause pedophilia?]

    Next sentence: “The most realistic response is also the most fearful to the hierarchy and to many clergy and laity as well: a thorough, fearless examination of the heretofore untouchable system of power and control and the closed, secretive and often privileged world at the heart of the institutional church. There is really only one vital question: why is this system and the men who sustain it more important than the emotional, physical and spiritual welfare of a single, innocent child?”

    [Doyle, do you even hear yourself? Untouchable system? RCC is constantly being attacked by people like you, how can you call it untouchable? System of power and control? Would you feel better if you had that power and control? Where are the abused children in the midst of it? RCC is only as much privileged as you want it to be! When did RCC say that the emotional, physical and spiritual welfare of a child is not important to it?]

    So, which is it? Are you here to help the abused children, or you are here to use the abused children to destroy the RCC? As you may know, or perhaps not, most of the abuse happens in your own families. Look at the childhelp.org website yourself if you don’t believe me! Do you really want to help, look around you and discover ways of doing so! If you want to destroy the RCC, be my guests, you are not the first one and not the last one either, but don’t hide under the pretext of trying to help the kids in doing so! Since 1995 the child abuse , just here in the US is 5 time higher! Do you think the RCC is responsible for it? I think not!

    God bless!

  27. Deanna Leonti Says:

    Yes, I do think that majority of abuse stems from the Catholic culture.
    And, yes I do agree with Doyle.
    And, no I do not believe what I have to say destroys RCC, it’s fact & truth that have destroyed the RCC.
    RCC destroyed itself!
    If RCC is truely innocent to all that I have stated than what I have to say couldn’t destroy it,
    could it?.

  28. Sebastian Says:

    Dear Deanna, this is my last response, because it seems to me as you are just like the extremists muslims who are here to convert unbelievers no matter what is the cost and you must certainly looking for justice, whatever that might be for you as it is for them. Don’t you see what is happening in your own back yard? Kids are being constantly abused by their own families! But no, let us have some good old fashioned witch hunt, that is going to make us feel better?!

    RCC innocent? I think not! It seems as you care more to prove that than to keep our kids innocent now! Happy hunting! You think you are becoming a better person because of that? You think you are saving kids doing that? Think twice! The abuse in you own family is five times higher now than it was in 1995! What are doing about? Hunting the past? I hope you can sleep well knowing that your own family member abuses in some kind of way your own family members! But we don’t want to talk about! No, it is the evil RCC that caused it all in the first place!

    God bless!

  29. Elizabeth Says:

    Thank God that there is a Father Thomas Doyle. As for the fact that there are abusers outside the Catholic Church – that is obvious. And has nothing whatsoever to do with addressing the abuse inside the Church and the response of the hierarchy.

  30. Michele Betti Says:

    A well thought out piece that reflects on what the church needs to do to help victims. It is not doing enough. These victims want, but more importantly, need to be acknowledged before they can move forward. The Catholic Church fell short, but it can fix the problem if it so chooses. Unfortunately, it claims it is, but it is not.

  31. joan lenardon Says:

    Why are not Thomas Doyle and or Richard Sipe invited to speak at the upcoming C onference: Trauma and Transformtion, to be held at McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, 14-15 October?

    Please publicize this Conference given under the auspices of the Religious Studies Department of McGill University.

    It could be a contribution or a step backward.

    I yearn to hear Doyle, Sipe given this kind of a venue.
    Thank you,
    Joan Lenardon

  32. Jamie Kolasnski Says:

    Truth isn’t different for each person; there is only one truth; how credible is Fr. Doyle really? I wouldn’t take all this to heart. Fr. Thomas Doyle was one bad mouthing the Catholic Church at a SNAP conference in August 2011. You can read the findings from http://www.catholicleague.org.

    Healing comes from forgiveness; there is no amount of money that can heal an abuse victim; however forgiveness liberates. This is what Jesus calls us to…

    No matter what the Church does there will ALWAYS be someone to say it’s not enough.

  33. stories of child Says:

    stories of child…

    […]Voice from the Desert » Blog Archive » ABSOLUTE MUST READ…by Tom Doyle: THE POPE, THE CHURCH AND SEXUAL ABUSE: A PERSPECTIVE[…]…

  34. ike Says:


    […]Voice from the Desert » Blog Archive » ABSOLUTE MUST READ…by Tom Doyle: THE POPE, THE CHURCH AND SEXUAL ABUSE: A PERSPECTIVE[…]…

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