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Clerical abuse in any denomination hurts Christianity as a whole

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Posted: Tuesday, May 1, 2012 12:00 am

The Lodi News-Sentinel did a good job covering the Michael Kelly sex abuse civil trial. The News-Sentinel journalist had an uneasy task of presenting unbiased reports in an atmosphere of ardent support for the very popular Catholic priest.

Both the News-Sentinel and Stockton Record published letters of tribute to Father Kelly's character and integrity and in support of his "non-liability" or innocence. Quite an outpouring of love and trust.

Unfortunately, not long ago we were reading a similar story of sex abuse by Oliver O'Grady, another local priest convicted of sexually abusing children, which became the subject of the film "Deliver Us from Evil." Adding insult to injury, it was hurtful to then learn that this diocese was complicit by camouflaging and covering up for abusive priests out of its own self-interest — money, power and reputation.

From any perspective these are sorrowful stories and no one escapes unscathed, not even the attorneys. Clerical sexual abuse in any Christian denomination affects the whole of Christianity. It besmirches the Christian effort and it is shameful any time the cause of Christ is belittled. My dear old dad would say, "When crap hits the fan, it sticks to everything and cleanup ain't easy either."

Scripture speaks in reference to children and our obligation to them, and it is valuable reading. Consider for a moment not only the rape of our children by our clergy, but the daily abortion murder of our unborn by their own parents. As we all stand here in this pool of shame covered in guilt, where is our sense of justice? Child abuse crosses every cultural/religious, socio/economic line. It is the offense of offenses. We are all guilty of the good we didn't do, and a millstone is very heavy and the see very deep.

William Van Amber Fields


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