To the non-Catholics that condemn the Catholic Church’s involvement in and handling of the pedophile priest scandal, let me say they are completely justified. Most Catholics are infuriated by the cover-ups during the past 40 years or so. These are grievous sins and crimes against the most innocent and vulnerable people of our society, our children. The only acceptable outcome: prison for those pedophiles and the bishops who have repeatedly covered up this horrendous problem.  

To those of you who have reminded me that we should forgive these pedophiles and their protective bishops, I say we should forgive them, but their penance should be 30 years in prison. And for those who lament the bankruptcy of dioceses, I ask, “And whose fault is that?” Since our money is used to settle lawsuits, perhaps the Catholic laity should form an organization to expose and demand criminal indictments of these predators, since it’s obvious that the Church clergy has failed to do so.  

Jesus must weep.  

— Robert L. Eison, Huntsville, Ala.

Widespread problem?

As a devout Roman Catholic, I find it astonishing that in order to be a pedophile you must be a Catholic priest. Apparently this abhorrent behavior only exists in the Catholic Church. According to the news media, pedophilia ONLY exists among Catholic priests. No other religion seems to be affected by pedophilia. I find this astonishing. Don’t you?  

Not only do I find this astonishing, I am also a firm believer that many allegations against the priests are false.  

— Charles Allen via email

Editorials get it right  

In response to the OSV editorial on the exchange between the Vatican and The New York Times (“Abuse confusion,” April 18), OSV is to be commended! 

Also, thanks to the March 31 New York Daily News editorial for publishing a relevant litany of accurate information that refutes the erroneous and mean-spirited allegations that Pope Benedict XVI did virtually nothing — before becoming pope — regarding the sex-scandal involving children and the Catholic clergy.  

— Thomas E. Dennelly, Sayville, N.Y.  

Repairing the Church 

Recently, I communicated about a number of articles that disturbed me. I asked for a sense of integrity, balance and fairness from your publication. The same qualities demand that I tell you that the editorial I just finished reading in the April 18 issue was one of the finest I have read on the subject of the sexual abuse crisis.  

I especially liked the conclusion, which stated that we all have a responsibility to “help repair.” No matter our differences of opinions on political issues, we can all agree that our Church needs repair, and it is up to all of us to work together to do the work.  

— Edward Montgomery, S.F.O. Kimball, Neb.

Correct date 

 I am writing with respect to the article by Thomas J. Craughwell, “A papal visit to Europe’s ‘most Catholic’ country” (Faith, April 18).

Craughwell writes that the Knights of St. John were “founded during the Crusades in 1099 in Jerusalem as an order of military men.” This is not correct. The Knights of St. John, or, as they are better known today, the Order of Malta, was established as early as the 1070s and possibly as early as 1048 by one name Gerard, or as we know him today, Blessed Brother Gerard.  

Gerard was probably from Amalfi in Italy. In Jerusalem, he established a hospice for sick pilgrims visiting the Holy Land. When the First Crusade took Jerusalem in 1099, many Crusaders seeing the work of Gerard and his group threw down their arms and joined Gerard in his work. It was some years later, in the early 12th cen-tury, that Gerard’s group took up arms to defend Christendom in the Holy Land.  

Today, as Craughwell correctly states, the Order of Malta has returned to its original charism of caring for the sick and the poor throughout the world. 

— Robert J. Fredericks, Ph.D., K.M.Ob. Morristown, N.J.  

Divorced against will 

No doubt Carson Weber (“‘A grave offense,’” Letters, April 18) has heard of the no-fault divorce laws that infest our nation. As a general rule, of course, divorce is a “grave offense against the natural law.” But how can it be a grave sin when one party is served with divorce papers against his or her will? When that person has fought and fought against the decision and process of an impending divorce?  

Oh, certainly, grievous mistakes are no doubt made by both parties leading up to such a disruption, but any Catholic should understand that that is between the divorced party and his or her confessor. In my case, finding divorce papers on my desk at work 23 years ago was soul-shattering. During all of these past intervening years (with no annulment, no remarriage and no cohabitation), no pastor or priest who has known of my situation has ever hinted that I should not receive the holy Eucharist.  

— George Mullally Iowa City, Iowa

Editor’s note: The Catechism of the Catholic Church notes: “It can happen that one of the spouses is the innocent victim of a divorce decree by civil law; this spouse therefore has not contravened the moral law” (No. 2386).