Clergy abuse scandal
In Peter Smith's article "Kelly looks to thefuture" (Aug. 15), I am quoted correctly as saying recently retiredArchbishop Thomas C. Kelly "deserves a failing grade" for his handlingof the clergy sexual abuse scandal.
These words are hard for me to say becauseI think he deserves passing grades, including some A's, for otheraspects of his ministry. When he returns to Louisville, ArchbishopKelly will have more opportunities to reach out in a healing way tovictims and their families if he chooses to do that.
Some people would have us believe that theclergy sexual abuse scandal is "history." Sadly, that is not true. Weare still seeing only the tip of the iceberg. Experts in the study ofchild sexual abuse estimate that only about 20 percent of those whoendure such abuse will ever talk about it publicly because of shame orfear.
In the Louisville archdiocese, there havebeen, since 2002, over 300 adult survivors of childhood sexual abusewho have publicly and credibly accused priests or other representativesof the local Catholic Church. In addition, before and since 2002, anundetermined number of other victims have made credible accusationswithout going public.
Even using only the 300 number, that meansthat there could easily be 1,200 other victims in our archdiocese whoare living alone with that trauma. These statistics do not includethose abused as adults or those victimized by representatives of otherreligions or helping organizations. And we know that these kinds ofabuse are still happening.
The families and loved ones of the victims,the priests who have been accused and those who admire them for thegood they have done, their families and their fellow priests are allimpacted by this scandal.
In addition, our clerical leaders havestruggled to regain the trust and credibility that is crucial to theirability to lead and teach. It is no secret that thousands ofonce-faithful Catholics have left our Church in disgust. Many haveturned away from religion altogether. The picture is bleak.
However, we Christians believe inresurrection. Our hope is that our new archbishop, Joseph Kurtz, willcommit himself to working toward such a resurrection by puttinghealing, openness and accountability at the top of his ministry list.
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