April 4, 2010

Letter to the Editor: Church must be held accountable

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To the Editor:

Re: “The (Re)Reformation of the Catholic Church,” Opinion, March 31

The author’s assertion that we should bite our tongues on our criticisms of the Catholic Church is at best misguided, and at worst, an attempt to downplay the seriousness and breadth of the crimes against children committed by the church. Furthermore, his claim that we  must “investigate it further, figuring out the real truth of the matter and the facts of the case” smacks of rape apologism. In the last few weeks, many facts have come to light: Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict, knew about the abuse of children by priests as early as 1963. In spite of this, in 2001, he issued a secret Vatican edict placing the interests of the church above the safety of children. Moreover, the reporting of abuse by priests was more severely punished within the church than covering it up or even being an abuser. It is clear to many that the rampant sexual abuse of children and teenagers by priests who have gone mostly unpunished is largely the result of 2000 years of enshrining male domination over the lives of women and children, and demonizing sexuality. With the amount of prestige and immunity that priests enjoy, it’s little wonder that they have continuously molested those weaker and less powerful than them. It is this power structure that enables priests and popes alike to avoid accountability. The Pope, as the head of the church, must be held accountable not just for his own actions, but the actions of his subordinates.

Lauren Schneider ’11 and Mark Collins ’11