The Daily Aztec

SD judge unveils horrors of Catholic church

by Staff

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Courtesy of Opinion Editor Tom Hammel

By Alyssa Clark, Staff Columnist

Forgiveness is something actively sought after by Catholic followers, but in a sudden twist of events, it seems those behind the sacred wall of the confessional have more to come clean about than ever before.

After three long years of legal procedures, a retired San Diego Superior Court judge has ruled that more than 10,000 documents from the Roman Catholic Diocese can be released into public circulation, exposing names, backgrounds and all credible allegations of sexual abuse committed by retired and active priests within the Catholic community. The existence of these documents exposes a sick reality that has gone on within this system for far too long; these religious officials have known about the occurring abuse and have done absolutely nothing to stop it.

Because of the “religious” affiliation of this atrocity, it took three years to reveal the truth to the public, all while the negligent and disgusting conduct continued behind the drapery. As if it wasn’t sickening enough to know the abuse continued while the legal process ran its course, the fact still remains that a religion founded on confession and honesty continued to turn a blind eye to the sexual molestation of hundreds of innocent children for decades. Convicted sex offenders are publically registered in accessible databases and a religious leader’s privacy is not more valuable than any other human being, so why are they exempt? A sex offender is a sex offender and a member of the Roman Catholic Diocese deserves to be prosecuted like any other criminal. No matter how intrusive an investigation might be in one of these sacred communities, the public’s well-being trumps all in these circumstances. If someone poses a threat to the well-being of any person within society, we are guaranteed the right to know the truth about what they are capable of.

Coincidentally, on the night when the whereabouts of these documents came into public scrutiny, the Diocese filed for bankruptcy. This legal decision froze the court cases and allowed for the investigation to be put off even further. This calculated plan solidifies concerned citizens’ speculations, and the shady antics conducted in this network of cover-ups clearly shows us all exactly what we are up against. The Roman Catholic Diocese has changed its target from hopeful churchgoers to our own legal system. This blatant disregard of the law is a long overdue awakening for our public, and exposes this manipulation of religion for the meaningless business it has become to this network of “fathers.”

And if you thought it couldn’t get any worse, these detailed files depict numerous cases in which sufficient evidence was found against offending priests and they were still not prosecuted. Instead, they was simply transferred to other institutions outside of the immediate area, or irresponsibly shipped overseas. We have no way of knowing how many more foreign children were scarred for life by the appalling desires of these priests because of this legal negligence. This complete disregard for public safety destroys any sense of credibility these establishments hold, making me wonder: If these religious figureheads aren’t there to serve their believers, then why are they there at all?

It has nothing to do with stereotypes anymore; it has to do with facts. The cases that have flooded San Diego’s legislative desks are proof enough of how sick and abusive this “religious” corporation has been performing throughout the years. Their frantic legal scrambling makes their officials look like a bunch of guilty children who are finally caught in their messy webs of lies. By failing to protect the 68 million devout followers within this religious community, the credibility, respect and value of this faith has been permanently tarnished, and has been reduced to nothing more than another manipulative system with a focus solely to protect its own disturbing agendas.

The Diocese has thoroughly destroyed the “safe place” mentality that Catholic followers believe in. They’ve also permanently scarred the emotional stability of hundreds of innocent children. It’s sad to think forgiveness needs to be asked for by the very same men who have prided themselves on delivering it. These guilty sex abusers and those within the church will have plenty of time to reflect on that in prison.

—Alyssa Clark is an English sophomore.

—The views expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Daily Aztec.

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