Friday, May 26, 2006

a story too seldom told...

The NCR runs a good story in the current issue, not on the front page, where the Exorcist would have put it, but at least it is there.

Far too little justice has been sought for the many priests that have been wrongly implicated in the sex abuse scandal that has shaken the Church, especially in this lawyer-happy country. Let the guilty be tried, but let not the innocent be brought down beside them or smeared by association.

The words 'sex abuse' have become a shibboleth for critics of the Catholic clergy. Like an evil spell that guarantees results, once applied it makes its target guilty and no degree of favorable testimony or even recanting by the accusers ever undoes its fatal poison. Other types of complaints or grudges that don't attract similar sympathy and outrage can be hidden in this all-encompassing curse before which there is little hope of defense.

Again, we should not deny or explain away the confirmed wrongdoing and horrible offenses that have come to light in these past years of intense scrutiny. But there are many innocent priests who have been discredited and discarded in the stampede - I know a good few of them - and they should not be considered mere collateral damage.