Good riddance to confidentiality clauses. If one outcome captures the spirit of the Canadian bishops’ new document on sex abuse, that might be it. No more confidentially clauses.

Making things right

Re: New abuse guidelines focus on prevention (Oct. 3):

This is a good article, but I was hoping you could write that I genuinely feel that the bishops of Canada are really trying to make things right to protect minors. They seemed very sincere with me after my speech to them about clergy abuse. I sincerely want to give them encouragement and support.  

It is a different world than before when people kept things hidden. I don’t think the Church knew how to handle it and handled it very poorly. People want transparency and accountability. 

The bishops need the laity to work with them. We cannot undo the damage done, but we can have a positive effect in the present and the future.  

We must do everything we can to restore lost trust and faith in God through listening to abuse survivors and educating people about safeguards. If abuse is reported, be supportive.

I believe we have come a long way. We must not lose our hope and faith in God. There is hope. I really believe the bishops are trying to make things right.

Deborah Kloos,

Windsor, Ont.


Questioning celibacy

Almost all the articles in The Register about the current sexual abuse crisis are based on repairing the problems of the past with apologies and compensation. But what about the future?

It is necessary to preserve the Church going forward. All of the goodwill and apologies will not change the future. The underlying cause(s) of the rampant sexual abuse will not disappear because the Pope says it must.  

The recruitment of new priests must change. It is imperative that mandatory celibacy be discontinued. A few years ago when a number of Anglican priests left their church over same sex-marriage, these priests were readily accepted into the Catholic Church despite being married. The world didn’t stop turning. 

And while we are at it, we must ordain women into the priesthood and be prepared to promote them to bishops and even cardinals. Why not a female pope some day? 

Patrick King,

Toronto


Why seek answers?

Re:  We need answers (Sept. 9):

Your editorial seems to confirm your conviction that the Viganò/Francis you-said-I-said controversy needs an answer. My question is why? Why do we need answers that will do nothing but deepen the conservative-liberal divide?

What percentage of the 1.2 billion Catholics are really interested in the Viganò/Francis controversy? And what percentage are even aware of it? 

Although we must do everything to deracinate the evil that has seeped into the Church, we should be careful that in doing so we do not exacerbate the present divide.

J.E. Sequeira,

Pointe Claire, Que.


An important book

Re: Book’s journey takes some tedious turns (Sept. 16):

Joe Gunn has produced an important work. I disagree with the person reviewing it in The Catholic Register, that it is very exclusive. I do believe that it is an eye-opener for joining the activism necessary to take on some of the major problems of today’s world, and nothing is more important than climate change.

It is an important book for many people who are active or want to be active in the world that Joe Gunn knows so well.

Virginia Edman,

Toronto

Lay investigation

Like millions of Catholics I am scandalized by the priests and bishops who have committed heinous acts, especially to children and teenagers. I’m also frustrated and angry that the clergy, including Pope Francis, use terms that are unfamiliar to the average layperson, such as clericalism. 

We have grown weary of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò. Weary of his accusations. Weary of his recklessness. Weary of his insolence. Weary of his betrayals. Weary of his cunning.

What does he want?

Re: Abuse Survivor demands ‘real’ change (Sept. 16):

I am shocked and very much disappointed by your giving publicity to this “abuse victim.” What changes does he really want? When he calls for “real” change founded on “honesty and accountability” does he imply that Pope Francis is dishonest?     

Miami Bishop Thomas Wenski was achingly correct when he stated in a recent homily that the storm pounding the Church is not a crisis of faith, but one of leadership.

Make reparations

There is a time for mercy and a time for turning over the tables of money exchangers. The time for mercy is over! Now is the time to turn over those proverbial tables.

Our shepherds must stop asking for forgiveness and engage in profound reparation (for sexual abuse victims) in the hope of meriting forgiveness. Only then can the abandoned and abused sheep begin to trust the shepherds.  

And, no, the money must not come from the donations of the faithful but rather from the personal pockets of each predator and enabler, including the pockets of those who kept the secrets.

Dona Tiberio-Smith,

Maple, Ont.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission was long, emotional and painful, but necessary as an act of a nation’s contrition after facilitating decades of abuse at residential schools. 

What is clericalism?

My heart goes out to our priests and bishops  — the good ones, which is most of them. To say that the Catholic priests in my life have been beacons of virtue and guidance would be an understatement. 

This is why I get disturbed by the simple use of “clericalism” as  an explanation for the abuse crisis. Perhaps a “policy of maintaining the power of a religious hierarchy” has something to do with this cancer, but I wonder to which “hierarchy” this term refers? 

Is it the majority of good priests and bishops who want nothing more than to serve their parishioners while remaining true to their holy order? Or does “clericalism” refer to those poorly formed bishops and priests who either practice an utter disregard for true Catholic sexual morality in general and celibacy in particular, or cover up for those that do? 

If this second definition is what is referred to by “clericalism,” then I’d have to agree.

Mario Loreto,

Toronto, Ont.

Canadians take water for granted. We have more ocean shoreline than any nation on Earth and our freshwater lakes and rivers cover almost 12 per cent of Canada’s landmass.

Word of thanks

Our ears are ringing with the onslaught of abuse reports and our shoulders sag with the burden we carry for our Church. We’re all appalled, ashamed and saddened to the core of our being. Rightly so. 

As for penalty to the perpetrators, the public media discussions of how to handle this should never have had to occur. It should begin in the confessional with a penance which suits the sin and then subjugation to the laws which apply to any other person, as this abuse is not only a sin in the eyes of the Church but it is also a crime. 

As these cards are laid on the table, we also see much goodness which must not go unmentioned. I would like to give credit to all the priests, bishops, monsignors and popes of my time who have influenced my life. 

They have taught, forgiven, counselled, ministered and been friends. They have never asked for a penny, never laid a hand on me, except in compassion, and have always lifted me up, never condemning or criticizing. They have nourished my soul and enabled my growth, peace and understanding. 

I thank them all from the bottom of my heart!

Lynn Cristini,

Edmonton, Alta.