Catholic Culture News
Catholic Culture News

is secrecy history too?

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Apr 19, 2004

From the U.S. Bishops' Charter:

In the past, secrecy has created an atmosphere that has inhibited the healing process and, in some cases, enabled sexually abusive behavior to be repeated. As bishops, we acknowledge our mistakes and our role in that suffering, and we apologize and take responsibility for too often failing victims and our people in the past. We also take responsibility for dealing with this problem strongly, consistently, and effectively in the future.

From yesterday's article on the monastic existence of ex-bishop and confessed sex-abuser Anthony O'Connell:

Eventually, eight men came forward and accused O'Connell of sexual abuse when they were minors, said Patrick Noaker, a Minnesota attorney representing alleged victims. ... All the legal actions against O'Connell are civil suits. O'Connell has taken the Fifth Amendment during the deposition sessions for those suits, Noaker said. The statute of limitations has protected O'Connell from criminal prosecution, Noaker said.

Why do O'Connell's brother bishops allow him to take the Fifth, if they're committed to taking responsibility for the harm they inflicted? How does the Fifth Amendment serve the cause of truth here? If they wished, the bishops could bring extraordinary pressure to bear on O'Connell to do the right thing by the victims -- and aid his own salvation -- by making a clean breast of his crimes. Unlike nailing covenants to cathedral doors for the news cams, this is an opportunity to accomplish a concrete good. Even if they ultimately failed in their effort, and O'Connell skipped to the Dutch Antilles, it would count as a good faith move.

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