In his May 10 letter, Al J. Notzon III, chairman of the National Review Board of the U.S Conference of Catholic Bishops, stated that “the Catholic Church has done more to deal with sexual abuse of minors than probably any other group working with young people.”
This may be true, but does any other group have as much to atone for? This is about as convincing as a thief bragging, “I’ve done more community service than anyone.”
Mr. Notzon went on to say that “More than 95 percent of priests have never sexually abused a child.” Wow. A ringing endorsement!
Mr. Notzon’s letter merely highlighted the fact that the Catholic Church still doesn’t get it and probably never will.
Kathie Sowell, Vienna
As the May 7 editorial “The passivity of the Catholic Church” noted, the efforts of the Society of Jesus to restrict Donald McGuire from sexually abusing minors failed. The Post rightly insisted on punishment for this failure, and we have paid for our mistakes and learned from them. But alleging “passivity” in our efforts to protect minors from sexual misconduct is inaccurate.
Because there is nothing more heinous than the abuse of a child, men’s religious orders in the Catholic Church today enforce stringent policies to prevent abuse, to respond appropriately to victims and to notify legal authorities. These policies are supervised by review boards led by lay people. Praesidium Inc., a nationally recognized leader in the protection of children and young people, audits and accredits each religious order on its compliance to national standards, including the supervision of offenders. Cases like Mr. McGuire’s have fostered constant vigilance.
We cannot undo the past. But church leaders can learn. All who care for children — churches, schools, sports programs — must be judged on how they respond to allegations of sexual misconduct in the present and in the future.
On this point we all agree: Passivity is unacceptable.
Thomas H. Smolich, Washington
The writer is president of the Jesuit Conference of the United States.