Monday, March 03, 2003

The Maryland senate bill that proposed mandate reporting of sexual abuse was killed in the Judiciary committee. The local dioceses here Washington and Baltimore scored a major victory. What it does show is the political muscle of the Catholic church in the area. The bill wanted to mandate reporting of sexual abuse to authorities without breaking the privilege of confession but the Catholic authorities spun it to say that Maryland senators were trying to break the confessional seal. By presenting it this way, they were able to get Catholics to light up their reps' switch boards and kill the bill. I guess it is fair politics, it's just dissappointing to see the Church kind'a stoop so low (BTW, the people involved on the Catholic side are generally honorable and good people, but this is the nature of the political beast).

There is another bill that wants to increase the statute of limitations on sexual abuse. Of course the archdioceses around here want to kill that bill but it will be much harder because I doubt they'd get much sympathy from Catholics on that one. The Archdiocese of Washington's position is that addressing the sexual abuse issue is a good thing but a state law increasing the statute of limitations is not the way to do it. They, like the rest of the Church, want to be left alone to police themselves. We've already seen that it doesn't work. It is almost like the wolves guarding the hen house, The only redeeming issue here is that Cardinal McCarrick and, to a small extent, Keeler, have been propoents of very tough internal standards, so there isn't a sense of necessarily skirting the issue. However, this brings back the question of what our relationship to the common good as Church is and when there is a conflict between the Church's interest and public good, which should be a priority in the just eyes of the Church?


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