October 25, 2019

Letters to the Editor

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Forum on clergy sex abuse reminds us there is still work to do, reader says

Thank you for publishing the article, “Abuse will always be one in long list of betrayals of Christ, says speaker” in the Oct. 11 issue of The Criterion. The article shared valuable updates, some good news and, unfortunately, some concerning views. I appreciate the full breadth of the speakers who participated in this forum, and The Criterion’s publication of the article.

Former FBI executive assistant director Kathleen McChesney, one of speakers during the forum, indicated a number of concerns that were listed toward the end of the article that are disturbing. My hope is that she is not the only one with the concern and that there are Church leaders who are addressing these issues.

Bishop Robert E. Barron, in his book Letter to a Suffering Church: A Bishop Speaks on the Sexual Abuse Scandal, asks us to “fight by raising your voice in protest; fight by writing a letter of complaint; fight by insisting that protocols be followed …”

The Church has selected experts such as McChesney, who was appointed in 2002 as the first executive director of the U.S. bishops’ Office of Child and Youth Protection, to improve the Church’s ability to protect our young people. The Church needs to listen to the concerns and advice of the experts. We need the help of publications such as The Criterion to help us hold the Church accountable for its choices of inaction.

I strongly urge The Criterion to pursue and provide additional in-depth coverage on these very issues. None of us should accept the excuse, as McChesney stated, “The Church will continue to be slow to reform.  I think that shouldn’t be an option, but I think that sadly, that is the way this Church works.”

Thank you for this opportunity to fight.

- Kathy Heath | Indianapolis

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