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March 16th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

How should Church address child abuse claims in Europe?

ALT TEXT

(PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The Catholic Church is immersed in yet another child sex abuse scandal - this time in Europe.

Allegations of sex abuse by Catholic priests are spreading across the continent - from Pope Benedict the 16th's native Germany to Ireland, Austria, Switzerland, Italy and the Netherlands.

And this time the claims may hit a little too close to home for the Pope.

The Archdiocese of Munich has revealed it allowed an abusive priest to keep working in the early 1980s - at a time when Benedict was archbishop there.

The Vatican was quick to respond - with the number two official at the time claiming full responsibility. But Benedict was the archbishop.

The scandal keeps growing. In Germany alone there are new claims nearly every day; hundreds of alleged victims have come forward claiming either sexual abuse or physical violence at the hands of priests.

In Ireland the floodgates have opened - there are now more than 15,000 complaints in a country of four million people. Three government-ordered reports have shocked and disgusted that nation.

As more and more victims come forward with their stories, some wonder if it's not just a matter of time before some European dioceses will be forced to declare bankruptcy like some did in the U.S.

Experts say the Pope is not likely to resign. Of course not - that would be tantamount to an admission of guilt, wouldn't it?

But the scandal could do enormous damage to his papacy, his moral credibility and his reputation.

Here’s my question to you: How should the Catholic Church address the child abuse claims sweeping across Europe?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Kathleen in Oak Park, Illinois writes:
Addressing child abuse claims will be futile until the Catholic Church admits celibacy is at the root of this terrible problem. I have given up hope it ever will. That is just one of myriad reasons that I, a life-long Catholic, have after much soul-searching finally left the fold.

Susan in Alabama writes:
As a Catholic and a parent, I'm completely befuddled as to why people would take complaints of sex abuse by priests to the Church instead of (1) filing criminal charges or, even better (2) shooting the bastard. Personally I recommend the latter… The fact that parents and victims come to the Church for a cash payoff not only keeps the predators on the streets but leads to many false claims that, years after the alleged encounter, can be neither proved not disproved but adversely affect the credibility of REAL victims.

E. writes:
Maybe I just don't get it with the Catholic Church. How does it ostracize some for decisions that they make that really have nothing to do with the Ten Commandments and yet those who abused children are shifted from one job to another, suspended but not fired, their actions dismissed or minimized in importance? Why is this hypocrisy accepted by the Catholic church members?

Rich writes:
As a victim of clergy sexual abuse, I can assure you this isn't a new story. These crimes have been occurring against children for hundreds of years. It's only because of our advanced technology in communications that we can see that it's a worldwide epidemic, and it won't end until the Church deals with it honestly and with transparency. The Catholic Church is equal to the Mafia, in its practices of integrity.

Clifford writes:
Jack, I think the Catholic Curch should open all the windows and doors and let some sunlight and fresh air in, dump over the barrel and sort out all the bad apples once and for all. If not, they soon will not have congregations to worry about.


Filed under: Children
soundoff (134 Responses)
  1. Dana in Oregon

    Well ,they certainly should never have been transferring the offending pedophile to a new location each time he is caught so that he can prey upon a new crop of unsuspecting victims. Looks to me as though "cover our hides" has been much more important than the welfare of innocent children.

    March 16, 2010 at 2:12 pm |
  2. Joanne

    That is an easy one Jack....criminals belong in jail. In this case in jail for a "long" time.
    Joanne
    Mn

    March 16, 2010 at 2:12 pm |
  3. Rick McDaniel

    The Catholic Church needs to change much about how it conducts its affairs, and one of the first things it needs to change, is its celibacy rule.....which absolutely does not work, at all.

    The Church also needs to change its policy on birth control. "Be fruitful and multiply" was fine, with 2 people in the world. Today, we are long overdue, to change that viewpoint, if we want to save the planet from human destruction.

    The Catholic Church operates in the Dark Ages, and needs to come into the 21st century.

    March 16, 2010 at 2:15 pm |
  4. Ann from Charleston, SC

    I think the church should investigate each and every claim in an honest and straightforward manner, then turn over to the civil authorities those cases that have even the slightest appearance of child abuse. The civil courts should take it from there.

    March 16, 2010 at 2:15 pm |
  5. Mike in New Orleans

    The Catholic church should handle the claims as a criminal justice system would. But instead, they smack the pedophile priests on the wrist and suspend them for getting caught. And it will be business as usual for the largest pedophile protection organization in the history of mankind.

    March 16, 2010 at 2:18 pm |
  6. Dave, Brooklyn, NY

    They should address it in the normal way you address child abuse, you turn the perpetrators over to the authorities along with whatever evidence you have. Oh, and you dismiss the pervert too. Is that too difficult to figure out?

    March 16, 2010 at 2:19 pm |
  7. Eugene Northern Cal

    Child predators deserve swift justice no matter where they reside or who they are. Book em Daniel.

    March 16, 2010 at 2:33 pm |
  8. Leslie

    I think they need to and the world should demand that the church let these sick perverted men be bought to justice in what ever country they are in. This has been going on for far too long. We have known that these men are committing sexual abuse on children. We have allowed the church to deal with it and they are not doing it. How can we even acknowledge the pope if he will not speak out on this issue, these are his people. But yet he accepts no responsibility for them. The catholic church is not a direct path to god. These men are molesting children for Gods sake. Children! I can not believe that anyone can trust these men any of them, if the good ones do not speak out on this issue they are just as bad as the ones that are committing the crime. They do not seem to have a problem with speaking out on any other issue. Why this one? Before the so call catholic church can minister to any one they need to clean up their own house first

    March 16, 2010 at 2:34 pm |
  9. Albert R. K. Los Anegles

    Jack, the Church needs to admit fault and correct the problem by dropping the required vow of celibacy among their priesthood which attracts a high occurrence of pedophiles with a sanctuary of having an income, an unmarried lifestyle and being recognized by children as a respected and trusted member of the community. Imagine the stupidity of requiring ice cream truck drivers to be celibate. It’s the Same here!

    March 16, 2010 at 2:35 pm |
  10. David Rand

    Same way they should have addressed it many years ago...if a person is accused of misbehaviour, he is suspended....indefinately. If he is found guilty or believed to be sufficient evidence of wrong doing, he is FIRED and all info is provided to the police for investigation/charges if applicable.

    March 16, 2010 at 2:36 pm |
  11. Jim Z..Ft. Worth...Texas

    Jack, here I go again. When man's first enemy daunted him, his fear...his first invention to combat that fear was his God. When man took stage as spokesman and deity for his fear of the UNKNOWN... the corruption of all sanctity of man began. He certainly hasn't left anything unviolated, has he?

    March 16, 2010 at 2:37 pm |
  12. Maria

    The Catholic establishment should examine each claim and ajudicate them, one by one. Time consuming, sure. Life consuming, even better.

    Maria
    Brunswick,MD

    March 16, 2010 at 2:40 pm |
  13. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    The same way they have the other ones, ignore them and pay off the victims.

    March 16, 2010 at 2:45 pm |
  14. Michael Alexandria, VA

    They should let heads roll where they may after full examination and disclosure. This could be interesting, since the past head of the Congregation for the Deposit of Faith may have been in on the scandal. If that is the case, it may rend the Papacy as an institution. This makes it likely that people will be found to fall on their swords.

    March 16, 2010 at 2:48 pm |
  15. Pisher from Harrisburg

    The Pope should step down...pure and simple. As the titular head of all that is righteous and holy in his religion, he can only restore faith by stepping aside. It's called taking a hit for the team.

    March 16, 2010 at 2:54 pm |
  16. Bizz Quarryville,Pennsylvania

    They are a church of god. They should Start acting like one, by confessing their sins and making amends to families that were affected. The priest that are accused of child abuse should be forced to stand trial. If they are found guilty then they should be treated like any other child abuser. When the church first suspects a priest of child abuse they should take care of the matter right away and not allow it to continue. The catholic church has ruined their reputation and become the blunt end of jokes by trying to cover up and protect the priests involved.

    March 16, 2010 at 3:04 pm |
  17. JENNA

    How should the Catholic Church address the child abuse claims sweeping across Europe?

    Unless the pope faces this issue head on and with honesty, the Catholic church will fail.

    You can't sweep this under the rug.

    The pope MUST allow priests and nuns to have normal relations verses denying those who want to. After all, they use to be able to be married.

    Jenna
    Roseville CA

    March 16, 2010 at 3:07 pm |
  18. John from Alabama

    Jack: The Catholic Church should investigate it's own house first. It should protect those who have done nothing wrong, but those who have done wrong things should be turned over to the legal authorities where the crimes took place. It will not be pretty, but then church-state matters are very hard to sort out in the light of day.

    March 16, 2010 at 3:16 pm |
  19. Jim

    Jack,

    The Church should thoroughly and honestly investigate any such claims. If they determine the priest is guilty of abuse, they should immediately excommunicate him and turn him, and any evidence they've uncovered, over to the legal authorities of the country in question. There is no excuse for the Church trying to cover up or drag its feet in the case of such a heinous crime.

    Jim
    Reno, Nevada

    March 16, 2010 at 3:16 pm |
  20. Semo Rantamaki

    The Church made mistakes and should be held accountable. Allowing Abusers to remain in the church and keeping the information secret for decades was wrong. But should not paint with a broad brush. Tell that to the Pope, who was so eager to criticize Islam in his University speech in Germany, as if was an authority on that subject. How would he like it if Pedophilia was used synonymously with Catholicism ?

    March 16, 2010 at 3:17 pm |
  21. bob, oshawa, ontario

    Jack, first, they should examine the validity of these claims. Many of these so-called victims can take advantage of a situation years later for any chance to exploit it to their advantage. Then, if a valid case appears, Church authorities have to assess what steps, if any, the local bishop did to right the situation. Even if the correct procedure was taken at the time, they may not have been the right ones because the Church trusted the priests initial claim to live a celibate life and adding to this was the trust the Church placed in psychologists at the time who claimed that violators were treatable of their affliction. Now, it turns out, that this is not necessarily the case and that ex-communication from the priesthood is necessary if other innocent individuals are to be spared. Steps to promote married clergy, ordaining women, etc. are among the many misinformed views that are suggested to solve pedophile problems but latest scientific evidence does not indicate that celibacy causes this deviant behavior which crosses all professions and marital states.

    March 16, 2010 at 3:19 pm |
  22. Loren, Chicago

    By doing what it has never done, be open about the issue, admitting its failures and accepting responsibility, albeit for believing in the commitment of their priesthood. Their failure to do that in the United States has crippled the Catholic Church here, and the failure to take the right course in Europe will do the same.

    March 16, 2010 at 3:23 pm |
  23. southerncousin

    Very aggressively. It is a dark stain on the institution that needs to be gotten out.

    March 16, 2010 at 3:26 pm |
  24. steve in florida

    I don't what can be done about this very real and persistent problem. Asking the Catholic Church to condemn this behavior is like asking CEO's to condemn golf. It's inbred behavior. And it's going to continue.

    March 16, 2010 at 3:31 pm |
  25. Darren - Detroit

    Throw more money at the problem, like they have been doing all along.

    March 16, 2010 at 3:31 pm |
  26. Rick Medina,OH

    Jack,

    The Church has only one option: to deal with the issues directly and in a straight-forward manner. The Church must identify and discipline the offenders, and open its wallet (and heart) to the victims.

    Rick, Medina, OH

    March 16, 2010 at 3:32 pm |
  27. Rich McKinney, Texas

    The church needs to be open and honest with it's members and the public. If crimes were committed then those that committed them should be held accountable for their actions. It will be embarrassing and it will be hard but you can not preach ethics and morality at the alter and expect people to follow those beliefs if you do not subscribe to those beliefs yourself in life. Not everyone that is catholic is pure and good and decent. Claiming Catholicism as your faith does not make you exempt from doing what is right, just and fair.

    March 16, 2010 at 3:33 pm |
  28. Jay in Texas

    I don't think the Pope's credibility can be hurt. People obviously didn't care that he was a former Nazi so why should they care about this?
    Brownwood, Texas

    March 16, 2010 at 3:33 pm |
  29. Michael G Tampa, FL

    Jack,
    The Catholic Church has been guilty of many atrocities over the decades so this is nothing new.
    Example: The Catholic Church turned a blind eye to the Holocaust during WWII.
    The Catholic Church, like many other religions, is a scam being perpetrated on weak-minded people.
    If millions of people think that some men in fancy outfits and old buildings, with silly rituals and dogma are going to lead them to salvation, I've got some mighty fine land to sell you here in Florida.....
    The victims need to file a class-action lawsuit and make the Pope and the Chuch pay, big-time.
    Michael G
    Tampa, FL

    March 16, 2010 at 3:39 pm |
  30. Denny from Tacoma, WA

    For once and for all the Church should come clean and open about their problems if they are proven to be true. The Church should also make adjustments to prevent such problems in the future. Abstinsion does not seem to work for the general populace so why should the Church think that celibacy is going to work for them.

    March 16, 2010 at 3:42 pm |
  31. Judy

    Having attended catholic schools 1-5, let me tell you the priests are not the only ones inflicting violence on kids. I can remember being slapped soundly accross the face with a ruler by a nun. I believe I was in 2nd grade at the time. My mother threw a fit but I don't know what the outcome was. These people should be banished from the church if they ever hope to maintain credibility in the world, and the pope should resign, but you are right, he never will. The church has lots of money, so my guess is they will pay these people off one by one until things quiet down. Then they will go back to being pious.

    March 16, 2010 at 3:50 pm |
  32. Ed from California

    As a recovering Catholic, the church needs to get w/the times and allow the priests and the nuns to marry who they want. This may attract a better class of people spreading the doctrine around. In this way the church might get some of it's followers back or at the very least some respect from the general population. This sylabusy crap is just that, crap. And as far as the pedophiles are concerned send them all to prison, where they can be, either the "husband or the wife". Or hang them all in the town square, let them experience hell on earth.

    March 16, 2010 at 3:52 pm |
  33. jerseylou

    Jack,tell all who want a claim to pick a number stand in line around the corner.And wait for their number to be call!

    March 16, 2010 at 3:54 pm |
  34. Bev -

    Dismantle the Catholic Chuch and start over; Fingerprint and security screen potential priests and have their security renewed on a yearly basis. As well, and most importantly, stop trying to be Jesus as he is the only one who can "abstain" 100% of the time. Get rid of those peadophiles that hide under those big cloaks and let them get a job cooking burgers or something.

    March 16, 2010 at 3:54 pm |
  35. Michael H. in Albuquerque, NM

    The Church should have turned the perverted priests over to the secular authorities for prosecution. To protect them and move them around to various parishes was complicity and obstruction of justice. If prosecution is still in conflict with church law, maybe there is a furnace beneath the Vatican where these perverts can be moved to and ultimately removed. If anyone should harm a child it would be better if they had a mill stone tied around their neck and cast into the sea than to recieve the judgement that God will judge these perverts with. That is how the Church should have addressed these child abuse claims that have swept the world.

    March 16, 2010 at 3:54 pm |
  36. Ed Hoffman

    The Roman Catholic Church is no longer just a religion, it has become a highly political super group, that supports child abuse, and actually promotes conflict around the world and also supports over population of the planet to ensure their "congregation" keep getting larger and is maintained in a low education state in order to make sure that it does not understand what the church is really doing.

    March 16, 2010 at 4:01 pm |
  37. Mr. D

    A long road out of Eden. Why has it taken so long for this travesty of human behavior to come to light? Yes, the whole world has known about the abuse since way back when. It looks like modern communications is "smoking" out the truth and it is way overdue. Hiding behind the "cloth" isn't going to do it any more. At least mankind is making progress in some areas. You can light candles but you can't hide.

    March 16, 2010 at 4:03 pm |
  38. Ed Tallahassee

    It's time for a get right with Jesus moment. They need to admit the problem, and take real action to make amends.

    March 16, 2010 at 4:08 pm |
  39. Bev

    They need to take full credit for whatever they have done. I am so tired of the Catholic Church hiding behind those robes. The Priests etc. have ruined so many childrens lives, it needs to come to a head.
    I am so disgusted with how they are not letting a child attend their school just because the parent is Gay. I'm sure that is not how Jesus wants them to run the Church.
    They need to let those Priests get married, they are human. Whose idea was it in the first place to keep them, so called, Celebit?

    March 16, 2010 at 4:14 pm |
  40. Lori - PA

    Jack,

    It going to hurt them, but the Catholic Church needs to turn any priest accused of abuse to the police. Anyone who covered things up, needs to be fired.

    March 16, 2010 at 4:15 pm |
  41. Paulette in Dallas,PA

    This scandal should be confronted head on and the guilty parties held accountable – no matter WHO they are. Generations of young boys have been subjected to the filty games of these holier than thou priests. I believe the Catholic church in Europe should brace for the "walls came tumbling down" syndrome.

    March 16, 2010 at 4:19 pm |
  42. Mike from Denver

    Nothing they do will give them absolution.

    March 16, 2010 at 4:20 pm |
  43. Lance, Ridgecrest, Ca

    Jack, so what's the big hub-bub. The whole world is on a journey to embrace "alternative" life styles. Liberals would have everyone embrace "gay" life styles as "normal". The muslims across much of the world embrace "beastiality/sodomy" as "normal". How long do you really think it will be before "pedophilia" will be embraced as "normal" and the age of consent will be when the child can say "yes"? This is NOT a"church" probelm, it is a society problem, and society is responsible for the fallout.

    March 16, 2010 at 4:23 pm |
  44. Joe CE

    Be honest and forthright for a change.

    March 16, 2010 at 4:24 pm |
  45. Jim in Michigan

    celibacy is impossible, pedophiles can't be cured,and the Catholic church should shut down

    March 16, 2010 at 4:24 pm |
  46. Greg, Ontario

    The Church should automatically discommunicate the Priests involved and turn them and any information they have over to the authorities, where they can be punished to the fullest extent of the law. Yes, I'm Catholic and most of us feel this way.

    March 16, 2010 at 4:26 pm |
  47. Terrence Cain

    Turn these pedophiles over to the local authorities and ban them for life from any kind of services in church. The catholic church will not do this, they'll just ship them off to other churches around the world, but that is how it should be done. Things like this is why I stopped attending church.

    Terrence Cain
    Big Spring, TX.

    March 16, 2010 at 4:26 pm |
  48. Phil, georgia

    This is Outrageous!! They need to make a rule for priest not allowed to be alone with children. And, as a parent, you allow your kids to be alone with a priest, you are a fool and deserve to be punished just as well.

    March 16, 2010 at 4:35 pm |
  49. Ann Baldau

    This a Quote from Archbishop Charles J. Chaput in an article published in the Denver
    Catholic Register,

    " But what the Church does teach is that sexual
    intimacy by anyone outside marriage is wrong; ........"

    Good thing the church only applies this to "gays" – cause if they were serious, the pews would be empty – which would be OK – because there would be few priest lest to say Mass

    March 16, 2010 at 4:39 pm |
  50. Tim

    I am missing something: isn't child sexual abuse a crime? Why can't the perpetrators be charged of their crimes, including conspiracy for those who knew but covered it up? Civil charges are possible too, but why aren't people going to jail for this.

    March 16, 2010 at 4:40 pm |
  51. David Burket

    They should close down the churches. If this were a food company injuring kids with their defective product then they would be shut down. Taking kids to church is child abuse in its self. They should be over the age of consent before they enter such institutions. I say shut down the churches, the temples and the Mosques to save our little ones.

    March 16, 2010 at 4:42 pm |
  52. Mike, Guatemala

    Jack,

    I am a lifelong Catholic, an altar boy for 10 years and a product of Catholic schools. Unfortunately I think having the Vatican "investigate and address child abuse claims" is much like having Congress "censure" its own members instead of having an outside, independent group investigate and decide on punishment. NO PAY=NO PLAY but LOT OF PAY = CORRUPTION. Translated loosely, sadly that means our government today.

    March 16, 2010 at 4:52 pm |
  53. Gregory Tripp, Mechanicsburg

    The Church should deal with child molesters just the way Mario Puzzo treated the rapist in the opening scenes of "The God Father." There is no hope for justice for the innocent in a wrold dominated by the likes of the Church. Now, if the God Father were the Pope, things might be different.

    March 16, 2010 at 4:57 pm |
  54. leo

    They should shut the church down. Countries in which scandals like this happen should revoke the churches non-profit tax status.

    March 16, 2010 at 4:58 pm |
  55. Bonnie from NJ

    I am not Catholic but I do not understand how the hierarchy of the church can even show their faces in public, no matter what nationality. It is clear that these priests went into their profession not to preach the word of God, but because they were pedophiles and thought the priesthood would protect them. It is disgusting what they did and what the church did afterwards to cover up. They are criminals and should go to jail for the rest of their lives and hopefully after they suffer the wrath of the other prisoners, the wrath of God is next. A monetary settlement should be offered to the victims, but I cannot see anyway that this would help the victims to recover from has happened to them.

    March 16, 2010 at 4:59 pm |
  56. DW Gard

    Let us think about this. They will back pedal faster the a bat out of hell which does nothing for the children that were abused. I suggest they strip the clergy of their vows and excommunicate them.

    March 16, 2010 at 5:01 pm |
  57. cy gardner

    I'm ready to listen to a little crucifixtion talk. cy gardner, arlington, va

    March 16, 2010 at 5:07 pm |
  58. dan mcnally

    Dear Jack,

    The Catholic Church has been around for 2000+ years. One has to wonder how many cases of child abuse have occurred over those centuries. It would be absurd to think these are simply a latter twentieth century phenomenon. With that in mind, is not time for accountability? And with accountability can we not then look then to see what avenues are open to changing that centuries-old culture? If not, The Catholic Churchs will go they way of the heathen Roman temples.

    Dan NY

    March 16, 2010 at 5:07 pm |
  59. Homeless D in Atlanta

    The Churchh SHOULD root out every single case of abuse and punish the perpetrators as CRIMINALS.

    But what will happen is probably not going to be anything meaningful at all. What do you expect from a bunch of MEN who supposedly have given up SEX for life? Ain't never gonna happen!

    March 16, 2010 at 5:09 pm |
  60. cy gardner

    Where have you been on this story, Jack? I remember when there were allegations against a secular child care business in the '90s, the press turned that year's "trial of the century" into the usual circus. Stories about the Catholic Church's horrifying abuse of thousands, maybe millions of children, not so newsworthy. Why do the Catholics get such a pass from the mainstream media? These people are monsters. They should be chased through the countryside with torches and pitchforks just like the monsters in old movies. cy gardner, arlington,va

    March 16, 2010 at 5:11 pm |
  61. Mari, Utah

    As a Roman Catholic I am disgusted by all this. Especially since it is obvious that the Vatican has known about the pedophiles and has continue to approve their moving from parish to parish. This problem is worldwide, sadly, the Third World countries do not have the educated populace of a U.S., Ireland or Germany.

    The Vatican needs to clean house, every priest who is a pedophile accused or convicted needs to be expelled. Period.

    Jack, I am beginning to believe that the only way the Vatican will act is when we, the Church, stop tithing!

    March 16, 2010 at 5:13 pm |
  62. Frances Cappelletti

    After they give all their fortune to needy children and their victims, they should close up shop along with the mega churches who interfere in Government affairs. And no more tax exemptions for any church.

    March 16, 2010 at 5:15 pm |
  63. honestjohn in Vermont

    Gee, I guess its not just American priests who are perverts–its abuse worldwide. I think the lawyers are mounting up and getting ready for a very big payday. Guess it wasn't such a great idea to prohibit priests from marrying 1400 years ago. Look what they developed into.

    March 16, 2010 at 5:16 pm |
  64. Dennis North Carolina

    they need to face it up front with the truth and they need to clean out their closets. they need to remember the ten commandments which is the back bones of their teachings.

    March 16, 2010 at 5:16 pm |
  65. cy gardner

    The Catholics are a medieval institution. Surely, there must be something in their books that they can haul out. Iron maidens? Auto-de-fe? Ruler across the knucklers or other appropriate body part? I'm sure that around the world, thousands of priests and bishops deserve to go to jail. Fortunately for them, there is no god, so all that burning flame and wailing and gnashing of teeth that they may have used to scare their victims into compliance will not await them. We need to introduce them to hell right here on earth. cy gardner arlington, va

    March 16, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
  66. frankie

    Bankruptcy is alot less horrible than child sexual abuse and the abuse of power and the abuse by someone supposedly representing God.

    March 16, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  67. Bud Rupert

    religion, especially christianity, is guilty of the worst kind of child abuse and I'm not talking just about the physical kind either.
    Although, I would certainly put these scum bags to sleep on a permanent basis for phyically abusing a child

    The kind of abuse I'm talking about Jack is the kind that takes a young childs mind and threatens that if they sin or go against this so called God they will burn in hell forever....That is unforgivable in my book.

    It's hard to comprehend how an educated person can also be religous

    March 16, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  68. Greg H - Minneapolis

    The Catholic Church should deal with the problem like EVERY OTHER religion. Namely, get the predator out of a position where they can continue their evil, and into treatment to cure them. If a cure is not possible in a case, then they need to be isolated from children for the rest of their lives! This is no less true for Baptist, Methodist, Episcopalian, Lutheran, Jewish, or any other member of the clergy. Let's have "equal opportunity" in the bashing of a religion and hear more of those stories Jack, as the problem is not just limited to the Catholic Church.

    March 16, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  69. Gigi Oregon

    Why don't we let Europe take care of that. And we keep our nose to the "grind stone" and take care of our own dirty business. How about tax reform, insurance reform, government/party reform and corporate American robbing the people blind. Where is a "Robin Hood" when you need one.

    March 16, 2010 at 5:26 pm |
  70. Steve, Clifton, VA

    Jack

    They should treat those abuse cases as we do here in this country...and that is to treat Children with the same protection, love, appreciation and as a valued human being that looks to adults to protect them from other adults....

    March 16, 2010 at 5:29 pm |
  71. E.J. Craig, Plano, TX

    Jack: Once again the truth emerges that organized religion is the opiate of the people. The Catholic Church should give all their wealth in each country to that country. It worked for Henry VIII but if that is unacceptable, use his other method. Drawn and quartering sounds perfect!

    March 16, 2010 at 5:38 pm |
  72. Joe in Kent Island, MD

    Investigate, and beg for the victims forgiveness. After that, send the scum to the courts to be prosecuted and jailed.

    March 16, 2010 at 5:44 pm |
  73. Tim in Texas

    The 'Church' should not address it, the law should address it. They should lock up every priest who is found guilty and every person – including the Pope – who knew about it and allowed it to continue. Christianity should not be used to pervert morality any more than Islam, Judaism or any other religion should.

    March 16, 2010 at 5:46 pm |
  74. Melissa

    Prosecute them in federal court and let them go to jail just like every other child molester.

    March 16, 2010 at 5:48 pm |
  75. Linda in Arizona

    Hahaha. Finally, the rot can be traced to the top. That flapping sound you hear are the chickens coming home to roost.

    March 16, 2010 at 5:54 pm |
  76. Steve in Las Vegas,NV

    How about letting priests marry. If not, how about holding all concerned accountable instead of passing the priest to another parish where nobody knows about his past misdeeds!

    March 16, 2010 at 6:01 pm |
  77. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    Anything can be handled with the absolute truth, anything.

    These days the absolute truth would be a novel element not only in any religion, but in government, business, and most relationships.

    March 16, 2010 at 6:02 pm |
  78. Brian

    They should have a transparent Cathlic Church Reform and put it on c-span.

    March 16, 2010 at 6:03 pm |
  79. docb

    ck,
    The people in Europe should handle this their own way. The Catholic church needs to wait to see what the resolution is -they are the guilty parties!! It is not our call –we handled and continue to handle this within our system. Though i do not agree with letting off the pedeophiles which has happened here in many cases, it is not our call to meddle in their justice issues!

    We have stuck our nose in too many countries already with two wars and the Israeli alliance. If it were me, i would remove their US tax exempt status...considering the broad spectrum and years of abuse and hiding it ! Enough!

    March 16, 2010 at 6:03 pm |
  80. Karl from SF, CA

    I’m not sure how they should handle it, but a priest friend once told me that if we think the US government is riddled with internal scandal and dirty politics, it doesn’t hold a candle to the Vatican.

    March 16, 2010 at 6:08 pm |
  81. Mark Ames

    Im amazed that he gets away with this.What is wrong with our society that even allows this to happening.Ive battled the idea of religion or athiesm most of my adult life.the popes image, and all he stands for is embarrassing,and very frustrating.To me it looks like satan hiding behind god ,in gods name.If this is religion,count me out.

    March 16, 2010 at 6:11 pm |
  82. Lisa Godfrey

    Honestly.

    March 16, 2010 at 6:15 pm |
  83. Denzel Washington

    Enough with organized religion. It's a bunch of zealots who still beieve in creation, and trust anyone wearing the robe. Give your money to a local shelter, and not these child molesters.

    March 16, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  84. Tim, Hammond, LA

    Jack, the church should do exactly what they preach during confession on Sunday mornings before mass... Kneel on broken glass and say 40 Hail Marys!!

    March 16, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  85. E. Joyce

    Maybe I just don't get it with the Catholic church: How does it dis-fellowship some for decisions that they make that really have nothing to do with the ten commandments (using condoms? Really?) and yet those who ABUSED children are shifted from one job to another, suspended but not fired, their actions dismissed or minimized in importance. Why is this hypocrisy accepted by the Catholic church members, or do they just follow along because a few men told them to? How does their behavior differ from the people who follow cults that have popped up over the years in the US?

    March 16, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  86. Marietta

    By calling it not child molestation but rape. Why does the Catholic Church call it child molestation? Should it not be called rape? In the public forum when a man is charged with an 11 year old or younger it is called rape and thus it is.

    March 16, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  87. RickFromDetroit

    The Vatican started out as an Orthodox Church and should return to it.

    March 16, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  88. lorrie

    rubbish! I , my son, my daughter, my aunt, my uncle can all claim sexual assult without validity....

    March 16, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  89. matthew

    close the church down

    March 16, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  90. Stephen, Laguna Niguel, CA

    Hi Jack,

    I think this is the perfect time for the Catholic Church to finally take this opportunity to open all its doors regarding abuse, put all of them on the table, be judged, and be on with it. Rather than something twenty or more years old poping up every six months. The Church should be responsible, ask for forgiveness, punish those that are guilty and move on. After all, isn't that what it is all about? Repent and Forgive?

    March 16, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  91. Ralph Spyer

    What do you mean by address the claims. Should these priest go jail ,Yes. Should the Church try to hide these priest like they did in America? I think not. Should the Church have to pay millions of dollars or Euros to these children ? Religion is a species of a mental disease , or poison. It is the a plague it try explaining to ignorance the nature of the unknowable.

    March 16, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  92. bianca

    the church needs to respond with the utmost honesty...it's the right choice...

    March 16, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  93. Rich

    As a victim of clergy sexual abuse, I can assure you, this isn't a new story. These crimes have been occurring against children for hundreds of years. It's only because of our advanced technology in communications that we can see that sexual abuse against children, by members of the Catholic Church is a worldwide epidemic, and it won't end until the Church deals with it honesty and with transparency. The Catholic Church is equal to the Mafia, in its practices of intergrity and mordacity.

    March 16, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  94. SIMON- CANADA

    While I think child sex scandals are criminal, the Catholic church should stop being hypocritical and allow priests to marry, have families, have kids. It's a lie that any human can live without procreation.

    March 16, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  95. matthew

    expose the religion for the fraud it is... close the chruch down

    March 16, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  96. Bob Broadwater

    Jack: Why didn't you mention the thousands of native American and Canadian victims of the abusive priests on this continent?? And how can the Vatican have so much wealth and avoid paying their victims with bankruptcy?

    March 16, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  97. Jerry Jacksonville, Fl.

    All the little Priest that abuse children is a good reason never to stop abortions, if the parents of these priest has aborted them the world would be a damn sight better off. The Catholic church should shut their child abusing mouths about the abortion and birth control issue,they are a bunch of hypocrites and they sure have lost all of their creditability for being a religious organization as they should.

    March 16, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  98. goody

    i think that most if not all predators should be treated as such with the highest punishment the law can possibley imposed to these animals,especially ones that hide behind the oath of any organization. they prey on the weak and our little ones, jack!

    March 16, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  99. Kathleen Furore

    Addressing child abuse claims will be futile until the Catholic Church admits celibacy is at the root of this terrible problem. I have given up hope it ever will.

    That is just one of myriad reasons that I, a life-long Catholic, have after much soul-searching finally left the fold.

    –Kathleen Furore
    Oak Park, IL

    March 16, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  100. clyde freeman

    Do not transfer the priests. Get rid of them or put them
    in jail.

    March 16, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  101. Scott Stodden

    I find it absolutly ludacris Jack that the Pope is allowing these sexual abuse cases against children be kept secret and he's not speaking out against the country who basically feels its right and ok to kill off all gays! I believe Jack Pope Benedict should answer to all these charges and allegations and yes he should be held accountable and removed from power, Pope John Paul would never allow this to happen may he Rest In Peace! Iam not a Catholic but Iam Gay and I take great offense to the allegations that are coming out about the Pope because nobody should be killed because of who they are and who they love, its wrong for people to be Gay but its right for priests in the Catholic to sexually abuse children and keep these allegations secret and not turned over to the authorities? Something in the Catholic church is not right, remove Pope Benedict and find a Pope who's worthy of the position the way John Paul was!

    Scott Stodden (Freeport,Illinois)

    March 16, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  102. Chris - Sarasota, Florida

    Jack,
    What in the name of God can the Church do? It is a sad reality but a simple and real one, the Church cannot realistically do anything about it.

    March 16, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  103. Stanley Miller

    The Catholic Church won't address the abuse until they start putting child molesting priests in prison just like other child abusers. Throw in croupt Bishops as well.

    March 16, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  104. dave

    re: Catholic Priest Sexual Abuse:
    i don't understand why these men are allowed to be above the law? why oh why is there no legal prosecution of this type of filth in the churches? if they commit the crimes they should be as harshly punished as the rest of us would be...the bible seems to say that a rapist is to be treated the same as a murderer and should thereby be put to death...sexually abusing young boys IS rape! only this will stop sexual abuse once and for all...obey God's law or your children will be next.
    dave ;]

    March 16, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  105. Chris

    Awareness is the best answer. Parents will now hopefully be more awake to watching over their children even in the company of people who they thought were trustworthy. And train kids to be aware of bad people.

    March 16, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  106. Jennifer

    I think it is just disgraceful that the Catholic church goes to all lengths to hide and deny these horrible acts. I have lost all respect for the Catholic church – they need to come out and admit that some of their beloved priests have committed heinous acts on children who trusted them; they need to talk to all Catholics and tell them that it's not OK what these priests have done. Every Catholic that I have talked to immediately goes to the defense of the Catholic church! All you Catholics out there – just admit that the church is flawed!

    March 16, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  107. Norah M., South Euclid, OH

    Here's how they should handle it:

    Fire those who perpetrated the abuse and hand over any information they have to the police so that these predators and abusers can be prosecuted.

    Fire those who covered up the abuse. Make it clear that abuse will not be tolerated, and neither will covering it up.

    Deal with any future allegations the same way: hand the information over to the authorities rather than transferring priests to different parishes with a fresh batch of potential victims.

    And if that doesn't happen, I think the parishes allowing this, as well as the individual priests perpetrating the crimes and/or allowing the cover-ups, should be sued into oblivion. Hit 'em where it hurts: the wallet.

    March 16, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  108. Joan H, Owen, WI

    Jack, The Catholic Church should admit its guilt, pay the traumatized victums whatever they ask even if the Church has to declare
    bankruptcy.

    We've been through the "too big to fail" and it's time to let an organization that most deserves to fail to do just that!

    March 16, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  109. Don Sylvestre

    Perhaps the Roman Catholic Church should focus their resorces on protecting children from abusing Priests and not spend hundreds of thousands of dollars preventing Gay couples from recieving the same rights as other couples.

    March 16, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  110. John - Illinois

    The Catholic Church teaches that it has the power to forgive sins. It also teaches that those who are born into the Church and confirmed in the Church, but later leave the Church, will lose their salvation unless they reconcile with the Church prior to their death. (Reference the Church's current interpretation of the ancient doctrine: Outside the Church There is No Salvation) Since it is the fault of the Church that they allowed these abusive priests to remain in a position to abuse minors, the Church should issue a teaching which absolves those sex-abuse victims for the sin of having left the Church, if they indeed left the Church as a result of being abused.

    March 16, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  111. Chris

    How about the try fixing the leak instead of continuing to bucket out water. The Catholic Church needs to allow priests to get married. Regardless of values, priests are human and have needs. Let the Catholic Church point priests in an appropriate direction instead of forcing them down a path that can fork in the direction of becoming a monster.

    March 16, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  112. Iris

    They should send all the priests to jail instead of paying off the families. They are criminals and should be treated likewise. The pope should go to jail for letting it happen as should all the clergy who knew about it and let it happen. They were aware of what was happening and did nothing about it. They keep ignoring all the signs, and keep paying everyone but no one is getting any justice. That money should be used in other things not to buy off crimes or to dress the pope in expensive red Italian shoes.

    March 16, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  113. louis

    They can start by admitting they are a haven for pedophiles!

    March 16, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  114. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    It's past time for the Catholic Church to stop using preisthood alone as a so called "background check". They should have the same background checks as many other high officials, priesthood is not enough.

    March 16, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  115. Ronda (from Canastota, NY)

    The Catholic Church, not only in Europe but all over the world, should get out of the business of protecting pedophiles. Too often, these abusive priests are allowed to continue. Sweeping the problem under the rug doesn't make it go away. Sex offenders, clergy or otherwise, will continue to abuse until they are legally stopped. The Church needs to adopt a policy of zero tolerance for their own sex offenders and not just talk the talk. They need to walk the walk and make sure abusive priests are prosecuted and put in jail and most of all, excommunicated. They have sinned in the most heinous form.

    March 16, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  116. Adrian

    Very funny JACK. When has the Catholic Church ever address any of its "scandals". This just shows how corrupt and hypocritical they are. And the worst part of all of this is the Pope. When he was Arch Bishop where one of these scandals took place why couldn't he take more action. They have to many skeletons in there closet.

    March 16, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  117. Mark

    The Church should embrace reality. It's perverted ideas about humanity and it "sins" should be replaced with an acknowledgment that there is no evidence for God and that both women and men should have equal rights and opportunities. Then it should reorganize into a nice harmless social group where those who belong can still share traditions and community.

    March 16, 2010 at 6:30 pm |
  118. Tom in Iowa

    This should surprise no one. As long as the Priests are allowed to be shuffled around within the Church they will find a way to abuse more children. The only way to prevent this is to set rules the prevent a Priest from ever being alone with a child. Period.

    Tom in Iowa

    March 16, 2010 at 6:30 pm |
  119. Levi Anderson (Atlanta, Georgia)

    Jack, it is imperative we understand that majority of these child abuse claims are bogous and simply fraudulent. As an ex-seminarian of the Roman Catholic church, i understand the business of damage control. Since the Church often hasten into paying off these claims prior to proper investigation, we expect to see more and more of similar claims. I will expect the Church use some of her resources spent in settling Child abuse cases to constitute a solid panel that investigates and prosecute appriopriately. Such prosecution should equally include a defamation of character law suit were applicable.

    March 16, 2010 at 6:31 pm |
  120. Chuck Larkins

    In order to keep any credibility with the faithful, the church needs to be forthcoming about these abuses. Lay it all out on the table, the whole sordid story. Then the church leaders who knew what was going on need to publicly confess and ask forgiveness, including Benedict. This coverup must end. Otherwise, the church will need a good exorcism...or another Martin Luther.

    Chuck
    Toledo, Ohio

    March 16, 2010 at 6:32 pm |
  121. Charles Ayanleke

    If the papacy were a fortune 500,the pope would have resigned by now....incredible.

    March 16, 2010 at 6:33 pm |
  122. steve- virginia beach

    By cooperating fully with authorities, including turning over any potential evidence they have. They should also publically identify the accessories who conducted cover-ups on the behalf of these child abusers. And they should stop judging everyone else's morality at least until they have established their own.

    March 16, 2010 at 6:34 pm |
  123. Carlosm2

    Truman cited the parameters of responsibility when he said," The bucks stops here." If the Pope has more integrity than Truman, and he should since he is the spokesperson for Christ, then he should resign. The "buck" most assuredly stops with him. A new pope should allow priests to marry and allow women to be priests.

    March 16, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
  124. Mc Namara

    How many innocent children had to be destroyed in an attempt to save face? Canon Law 332 allows for the resignation of the Pope. For the greater good of the Catholic Church, this Pope should resign because he followed the direction of church lawyers, rather than the teaching of Jesus Christ.

    March 16, 2010 at 6:36 pm |
  125. tom trapani

    It's a joke the church as minder of morals. i am a fallen away catholic according to the church. Here we have the current pope in charge of this priest his decisions from the past clearly indicate the church's position abusing children is okay just don't get caught if you do we will protect you from prosecution and a jail term. A theme we see over and over again. The infallibality of the Pope as head of the church is a joke he's a man just like the rest of us. That;s why I choose to be a fallen away catholic. Tom Trapani

    March 16, 2010 at 6:36 pm |
  126. Charles

    If the papacy were a fortune 500,the pope would have resigned by now....incredible.

    Charles Ayanleke
    Cleveland OH

    March 16, 2010 at 6:38 pm |
  127. Omayra Soto

    The exact same way is handled outside the church with the same exact consequences if not harsher. These men are pedophiles hiding under the cload of priesthood and abusing a position that otherwise would be trustworthy. The Bible doesn't say anything about being celibate in order to serve God and if the catholic church would finally allow these people to marry they wouldn't be sleeping with each other and taking advantage of little innocent children, while making them believe, like one told me years ago in Puerto Rico....'this is how God wants to show his love for you'........yeah, right. I left that church but not God and now enjoy a healthy, true and strong relationship with Jesus Christ in whom alone I have found the healing I needed after four years of abuse. PROSECUTE THEM AND LOCK THEM UP!

    March 16, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
  128. Adam in Newfoundland

    Same thing the Soviet Union did at the end of 1991

    March 16, 2010 at 6:41 pm |
  129. Holly Bush

    The church should do nothing except cooperate with law enforcement. I do find it interesting that the Catholic Church won't allow a six year old child of lesbians to attend a Catholic school however pedophiles seem to have the run of the land. The priest that is in charge of keeping that dangerous little child out of school said that the church had to draw the line somewhere. The irony is deep and rich and typical of organized religion.

    March 16, 2010 at 6:41 pm |
  130. Bayo Ayanleke

    Tell an able bodied priest he needs to be celibate for life and encourage all sorts of sexual desperation.Man is a sexual animal.Did nobody tell the vatican about Sigmund Freud?

    They are not just now getting out of control,they are just getting worse at covering them up.
    Jack,do you have any silver bullet??

    Bayo Ayanleke
    Dublin,Ireland.

    March 16, 2010 at 6:43 pm |
  131. Shem

    Shem, Merchantville, NJ

    “Blast” them all as heretics, and conduct a sweeping inquisition of all the accusers. Wait a minute; we are no longer in the middle ages…darn. It is hilarious and ironic how an organization which once bent the will of the people is now subject to it.

    March 16, 2010 at 6:44 pm |
  132. Ann

    The Catholic Church's cult of ecclesiastical eroticism is seeping out to the public. They've had a long run of a protected environment for sexual abuse and pedophilia. Not to mention a ready supply of vulnerable children. The church should be shamed for their harsh and harmful damage done to children for years and years. They should lose respect and power; they should be no longer a recognized leader in world opinion.

    March 16, 2010 at 6:46 pm |
  133. pat in michigan

    As a Catholic Jack,I believe they should address it head on . Face up to it. Not all catholic priests are child molesters just as not all Muslims are suicide bombers.
    There is corruption in every facit of life today everywhere.
    Turn over the priests to the law and deal with the victims by whatever appropriate means necessary.
    Some one once said "power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely"
    This has never been an easy problemand burying your head in denial will not make it go away!

    March 16, 2010 at 6:46 pm |
  134. ABR ,

    Their recent laws tend to conflict the very creation of humanity (according to their scripture). Misguidance leads to more misguidance, further oppressing the people including themselves along the way. Maybe in some instantaneous the former exceeds the latter, even when it doesn't favor the those who write the history.

    durham, nc

    March 16, 2010 at 6:48 pm |