Bishops were just following medical advice

Re “Whether the Vatican is responsible for U.S. sex abuse” (Openers, June 27). 

The sex abuse scandal in the Church is horrible. There is no excuse for it, as there is no excuse for it in our schools and the Protestant churches and other organizations. 

John Norton quotes Austen Ivereigh, “It was the bishops in dioceses who failed to act on the accusations, or who — especially in the 1970s- 80s — moved priests between parishes after spells of therapy (emphasis mine) rather than removing them from active ministry.” 

Will you please tell people that, yes, that is exactly what they did. That is also exactly what the other churches did and the schools did and the Boy Scouts did. Why? Because that is what the psychiatric community told them to do. It was widely believed , and now we know horribly wrong, that a pedophile could be cured. So many of our bishops were just doing what they were told by the medical community. Just like the other organizations that have escaped the intense scrutiny. 

Blame where blame is due, but please, set the record straight. 

— Hazel Kliner, Warroad, Minn.

Irresponsible claim

A letter (“Indefensible,” July 11) suggested that Cardinal Bernard Law “had to leave the country to avoid prosecution for covering up sexual abuse crimes.” This statement is demonstrably false, and I was very sad to read it in the pages of Our Sunday Visitor. 

There has never been a shred of evidence to conclude that Cardinal Law personally broke any laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. To suggest that he is a fugitive from justice hiding under the sanction of the pope is nothing short of calumny. 

For too long, the rhetoric of a lynch mob has overcome the rule of law in any discussion of the clergy scandal in the United States. OSV editors should start editing. Such wild and irresponsible claims do not belong in the pages of a respected Catholic newspaper. 

— Ryan A. MacDonald, Indianapolis, Ind.

Power vs. morality 

Re “John F. Kennedy’s Political Legacy” (In Focus, July 4). 

Congratulations to OSV and writer Russell Shaw. I voted for JFK for president, but it didn’t take long to find out that the Kennedy clan were all too human when it came to a choice of political power or personal morality. 

I wished someone could explain to me why the American bishops don’t speak with one voice and publicly say “no Communion for congressional Catholic politicians who vote for abortion.” No names — just a general statement and let the voters decide. 

— L. Curley, Dearborn, Mich.

International priests 

Re “Facing a Future with Fewer Catholic Priests” (In Focus, June 27). 

I would like to commend Mark Gray for conducting such a comprehensive review and also recognize Our Sunday Visitor for highlighting this very important issue.  

The Catholic Legal Immigration Network Inc. (CLINIC) has seen firsthand the effect of this shortage, and we are proud that our Center for Religious Immigration and Protection offers much needed legal guidance to dioceses and religious communities across the country to address the need for priests and religious workers. 

Welcoming foreign-born priests has become a viable option for many parishes and dioceses. However, recruiting and bringing international priests to the United States has become unnecessarily burdensome for many dioceses. In addition, U.S. immigration law is complex, and the immigration process, particularly for religious workers, can be difficult to navigate. 

CLINIC’s religious immigration section provides legal representation guiding dioceses through this complicated process so that they can secure priests and religious workers who are familiar with the culture, experience and language of their members. 

CLINIC is happy to do its part to help the Church close this gap on priests and to connect communities with the essential spiritual leadership they want.  

— Anne Marie Gibbons, director, Center for Religious Immigration & Protection, Washington, D.C.

Eucharistic inspiration 

I just read “Are we ready to die rather than not celebrate the Mass” (Openers, July 11) and am happy to find yet another saint that carried the holy Eucharist to others. I have been an extraordinary minister of holy Communion for 25 years and carried him to others, besides giving him to others at holy Mass. 

I had only heard of St. Tarcisius (the fourth-century saint who was slain while carrying the Blessed Sacrament to Christians in Roman prisons); now I have yet another saint to pray to for my longtime role. 

— Frank Faas, Albany, N.Y. 

Editor’s note: While there has been a tradition in the parish of believing St. Crescent was a Eucharist carrier, the pastor there notes no details of his life are known. 


Re “Strengthening the Catholic signal” (News Analysis, July 11). 

How can you publish an article about Catholic radio and not mention the oldest Catholic station in the country? 

The author did a disservice to KNOM, Nome, Alaska. 

— Lawrence P. Davis, Gunnison, Colo.