Brian Smith publishes opinion piece about report of abuse by priests

An opinion piece by Brian Smith, professor of religion, the Charles and Joan Van Zoeren Chair in Religion, Ethics and Values, chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religion, and co-director of the Center for Politics and the People, was published Monday, Aug. 20, by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

“To heal from latest priest sex abuse revelations, Catholic Church will need secular help” addresses the recently released report accusing hundreds of Roman Catholic priests in Pennsylvania of molesting more than 1,000 children since the 1940s.

“Pope Francis has written a letter to Catholics about abusive priests. He promises that ‘no effort must be spared to create a culture able to prevent such situations from happening, but also to prevent the possibility of their being covered up and perpetuated,’ he writes.

“To achieve this he needs secular help. Some of the devout fear the secular as enemy of religion but, in fact, each needs the other to remain honest. …

“The media and legal system are not attacking religion by investigating past clerical crimes. They are doing what bishops for decades failed to do. Secular investigations are helping victims to come out of the shadows of shame. They are spotlighting the ugliness in an institutional clerical culture that made victims’ suffering unbearable for years and handled their perpetrators far too generously.”


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