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.


Please come again

Re: Where are the missionaries who will evangelize today? (Aug. 5-12):

Fr. de Souza criticizes the Cathedral of St. Boniface, Man., calling it “the saddest church to visit in Canada.”

Granted, the new cathedral does not “soar” like the former one, but it is exactly the juxtaposition between the old and the new that makes this an interesting site to visit. The new cathedral enshrined within the shell of the old one respects our past and incorporates the new.

It is not architecture that gives spirituality to a cathedral but, rather, the Christian community that worships within its walls. Perhaps  Fr. de Souza should delve into our history and come for another visit.

Aurise Kondziela,

Winnipeg, Man.

“When a bit of time has passed,” said Pope Francis, perhaps he would answer serious allegations that he permitted a cardinal cited for sexual abuse to return to public ministry.