THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING
ABUSE IN THE CHURCH: NAMING THE ACCUSED

In posting list, victims’ lawyer acts while church balks

January 25, 2011

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WE SAY amen to lawyer Mitchell Garabedian, an advocate for victims of child sexual abuse, for releasing more than 100 names of people in the church who have been accused of abuse (“Victims’ lawyer posts names of priests accused of abuse,’’ Page A1, Jan. 20). Massachusetts Citizens for Children has been calling for this action since Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley announced in March 2009 his plans to make these names public. To do so would likely prevent future sexual abuse against children, support the healing of victims, and hold accountable those who have committed these sexual crimes.

The Boston Archdiocese’s excuse for this 22-month delay — that officials must “continue to evaluate the complexities of this initiative’’ — is simply obfuscation. They would be advised to check in with the other two dozen archdioceses across the country that overcame these complexities to release their own lists.

The term “transparency’’ has been repeatedly used by church officials to describe their commitment to ending the secrecy that for so long allowed priests to abuse children with impunity. However, the significant discovery (“Vatican reportedly told bishops in Ireland not to report abuse,’’ Page A7, Jan. 19) of a 1997 Vatican letter widely understood as ordering Irish bishops not to report suspected child molesters to civil authorities gives new meaning to the word. Paired with the Boston Archdiocese’s foot-dragging on the release of these names, what is transparent is the church’s ongoing lack of truthfulness and morally right conduct.

Jetta Bernier, Executive director, Massachusetts Citizens for Children, Boston