Friday, October 25, 2002

NYTimes Letter Watch

Today's installment: Vatican Hypocrisy!

There are a number of letters today concerning the Vatican's response to the zero-tolerance policy of the US Bishops regarding priestly sex abuse of minors. As I was reading them, I ws having a hard time deciding which to highlight. Then I came to the last one, in which the writer states that the church is being "odd, if not hypocritical" because it's uncomfortable with this zero tolerance policy while it's fine with the same policy when it applies to abortion, contraception, or marital infidelity by the laity.

Now, I understand the reader's point, but he is still missing a crucial element: when a layperson commits one of the latter sins, s/he does not lose his/her status as a Christian layperson in the public forum; but that's exactly what the zero tolerance policy does. The Church is by no means papering over the abuse of a minor here... it's a question of how to punish the offending priest in a just and fair manner.

BTW, there is also an excellent letter by Fr. John McCloskey.

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