Catholics must Demand Change after Sex Abuse Scandal
by Maximilian Eyle
In light of the recent scandal in Pennsylvania regarding the systematic sexual abuse of children by priests – Catholics everywhere must ask themselves a question: how can the Church be held accountable? It has been proven in court that the Church itself helped cover up these crimes, and the New York Times reports that the blame reaches all the way up to the Vatican. If Catholics are going to continue to associate themselves with the Church, they must demand accountability for these years of abuse.
This is far from the first time this has happened. In 2002, the Boston Globe uncovered another large-scale cover up of child sexual abuse by priests that had been going on for years. Under the past Pope, the Cardinal who helped cover up the abuse in Boston was moved to Italy to serve as archpriest of a large and popular Basilica in Rome. This behavior is criminal, and inexcusable in any context. For an institution that claims to offer moral guidance, they should be ashamed to take the side of the abuser instead of the victim.
Of course the majority of Catholics are disgusted by these events, but disgust is not enough. It is the moral obligation of every Catholic to demand that the institution they support change how it deals with sex abuse allegations. From 2004 to 2013, the Catholic Church paid almost $3 billion to victims of child sexual abuse – yet we know from the recent scandal in Pennsylvania that this money does not solve anything. No amount of money can account for the misery and sorrow that has been created by these abusive priests. Payouts and expressions of regret from the Pope are simply not enough. We must demand a Church that values the safety of children over its reputation.
Maximilian Eyle is a native of Syracuse, NY and a graduate of Hobart and William Smith Colleges. He works as a media consultant and writes each month about a variety of issues for Spanish-language papers across New York State. Maximilian has a love of Hispanic culture and learned Spanish while living in Spain where he studied and worked as an English teacher. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.