Releasing abusive priest names in Texas

https://www.ncronline.org/news/accountability/texas-dioceses-will-release-names-clergy-credibly-accused-abuse

The article is not long. I recommend reading it, and would like to see commentary.

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Good move. Keeping this stuff hidden in the shadows doesn’t help anyone.

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Now that the Church in the US has policies in place meant both to protect the faithful from abuses and to protect the reputations of members of the clergy, I think this is fair. It wouldn’t be fair to retroactively criticize clergy who put themselves in positions that we see now were compromising but that were widely seen as acceptable at the time. That’s why I’d say it is acceptable to let people know when there is a credible accusation rather than reserving that kind of disclosure only for the higher standard of conviction.

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If they don’t release the names, someone else eventually will, so might as well get it over with.
Also, if it’s anything like in PA, most of the people they name will be dead or in nursing homes.

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Might be a good idea, IF THEY ONLY RELEASE THE NAMES OF THOSE CONVICTED AND NOT JUST ACCUSED!!!

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I read it and it is a good move. Definitions will be critical. Minors, any up to 19 years of age, I would say. All credible accused clergy should include most of those reported in Pa. It is far more broad than just those convicted. In many cases the clergy in effect admitted guilt by accepting treatment and allowing payments to the victims. IMO. The important thing is not to define so that the list is not credible which would invite the AG to investigate.

This would be true if there weren’t clergy from the past who had credible accusations repeatedly made against them who were moved into new parishes with no warning, only to stack up more credible accusations that did not lead to prosecution or even investigations. Now the heirarchy is not trusted to handle these matters appropriately unless they hold themselves to a standard of openness.

There is not a greater position of trust than that held by a Catholic priest, who is given the sacred position of acting in persona Christi. There are now very clear policies in place to protect their reputations and to protect the innocent from false accusation. Someone who cannot be convicted of using a violation of those protocols to commit an offense can still be guilty of violating the protocols meant to protect both those who have to be able to trust them and the reputations of everyone in the clergy.

I would not set an age limit. There are people who go to priests in a very vulnerable state, such as women who are going through a divorce, men who are struggling with SSA and even seminarians or consecrated religious who do not want to get on the wrong side of their superiors.

The Church would do well to protect everyone and to have protocols that put her priests above reproach when they are operating in these situations of such great trust. That doesn’t mean that the protocols to protect minors shouldn’t be stricter than those meant to protect adults, but that the violations that have been covered up in the past were not just committed against children or young people.

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The bishops statement said all offenses against minors. Almost no matter where you draw the circle there will be cases omitted.

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True. This covers the area of greatest concern, without a doubt.

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Exactly.

I wish every diocese would just release the names. Let’s be done with it.

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To subject the innocent to the destruction of their lives and reputations simply to satisfy the “chicken Little” Catholics and others who paint everyone with the same brush is not only morally wrong, but may well violate the eighth commandment. Priests have the right to the same conditions of civil justice as the ordinary citizen. You advocate stripping men currently accused but not found guilty of their simple civil and god given rights to equal justice under the law.
Anyone can holler fire, abuse, rape. It only becomes actionable when there is proof. And destroying reputations and lives before that proof exists, is a crime and a sin.

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The church has a duty to protect the vulnerable.

You can’t ignore the fact that church officials worldwide made a concerted effort to hide these priests and deny/frustrate justice.

There were many more guilty than ever saw the inside of a courtroom. The church was complicit in this.

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made - critical word in the discussion. Made, past tense, not making as in doing it on a widescale basis now. What happened in the past must not be allowed to continue into the present or the future. But it seems too many people (read Catholics) want to think that what happened thirty, fifty, seventy years ago is still going on today. AT least in the U.S., protocols have been put into place to deal effectively with any situations that occur. Maybe a lot of those “chicken little” Catholics need to face forward instead of being caught staring at the past.

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Even though the reforms are working, there is still a duty to acknowledge what happened in the past.

If we continue to hide the past, we will lurch from crises to crises as DAs throw open the books for all to see. It is much better for the darkness to be brought to the light by the church.

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I certainly can agree with your statement. But I still must insist that we learn from the past, and not just stare at it and allow it to define our present.

Preach.


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I am hoping they draw in conservatively, in their definition of credible, whatever that means. For this Blackstone’s ratio might be too conservative ( " It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer "), and just releasing the convicted seems way too conservative, but placing the name of everyone that has been accused is flat out unjust. I would say a strong preponderance of evidence is needed, but not to the point of reasonable doubt. In this case, I would say it is better that five guilty people are omitted than one innocent person be slandered.

The proposal is not to release the names of anyone who is accused at all. The proposal is to release the names of those who are credibly accused. It would be like releasing the names of people who are arrested or indicted even though they were not convicted of anything. This is not a violation of the 8th Commandment, because experience has shown that the faithful do have a legitimate reason to know about such a thing.

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While I can see your logic, and good intention, I might suggest that no one be named until (at least canonically) convicted. I have seen “credible” evidence fall apart during the “trial” process and it would be a shame to destroy a man’s reputation and career by an accusation that, while seeming credible, in the end is false. Maybe citing that there are X number of accusations that have some credibility to them would be okay, I still have to side with caution and charity in such a situation.

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That would be a good criteria. It is lower than a criminal conviction, but a lot higher than just accusations. I suspect since the dioceses will be the ones to determine credibility, something like this would be used. It might also be legally prudent to list the legal status, like “past the statute of limitations,” convicted, “indicted pending trial,” etc.

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