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Church officials also to blame

Allegations of sexual abuse in Roman Catholic dioceses around the United States have become so widespread that Pope John Paul II felt it necessary to express his concern and disgust about these recent events. There can be no excuse for the behavior on the part of the officials in these dioceses. By allowing these accusations of abuse to go unheard or uninvestigated, church officials are on the same level as those who committed these crimes. Some form of punishment must be handed down to those officials who saw fit to keep these events out of the public eye.

Margaret Quig, a parishioner in a West Palm Beach church said it best: ?There?s no more room under the rug.? A literal domino effect began with an investigation into Father John Geoghan, an archdiocese of Boston priest, who, during a 30-year period, has allegedly molested more than 130 children.

After findings about Father Geoghan, investigations into the archdiocese of Boston began with a vengeance, and disturbing evidence of cover-ups on the part of church officials made it clear that the faith of many families in the church had been exploited. They had been encouraged to keep the incidents to themselves and to pray. Despite the repeated allegations of abuse, Geoghan was simply moved to different churches throughout the diocese.

In seeking to avoid scandal at all costs, the officials of the church in as many as seven dioceses throughout the country have done exactly the opposite. It will be a long, hard road back to trust and security for their parishioners and all Catholics. These officials have been a party to the abuse of these children. Perhaps not in the manner of the offending priests, but they are just as much to blame for the continuance of this disturbing pattern and deserve nothing less than punishment under the criminal justice system.