Catholic Church has met abuse crisis head-on

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John Junke's Sunday letter to the editor displayed a righteous anger shared by many people worldwide. Whether it be the 10 percent of cases involving pre-pubescent children or the remaining cases involving post-pubescent adolescents (the vast majority of whom were boys), I as a lifelong Catholic am angered by and ashamed of the sinful acts of a few miscreant priests and the mishandling of some cases by the church's hierarchy.

Mr. Junke's letter contains two serious errors. The first confuses the human and divine natures of the Catholic Church and thus blames the institution for the sins of a few. That is akin to blaming Jesus for the betrayal of Judas. Does it make sense to judge the Catholic Church based on the sins and crimes of a few who have not followed its teachings?

Why not look to the lives of the saints, Catholic hospitals and orphanages and the church's outreach to the poor?

The Catholic Church developed the scientific method, founded the college system, has educated more children than any other scholarly or religious institution and is the sole remaining voice in our culture defending traditional marriage, the family and the dignity of human life from conception to natural death.

The second error in Mr. Junke's letter is his blindness to our own American society that allows children to be abused with little consequence.

The laws of most states severely limit the ability of citizens to seek damages against public workers and agencies.

Recent revisions in the laws of many states to extend the statute of limitations regarding childhood sexual abuse applies only to private institutions like the Catholic Church, opening the door to decades-old claims seeking damages in the millions of dollars.

Children abused in a public school have as few as 90 days to file a lawsuit and damages are capped as low as $50,000. Imagine if the statute of limitations regarding childhood sexual abuse applied equally to all institutions, including public ones.

The abuse crisis impacts all of us -- Protestant, Jew and Catholic alike. The Catholic Church has met it head-on.

As Dr. Paul McHugh, a respected psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins University recently said, "Nobody is doing more to address the tragedy of sexual abuse of minors than the Catholic Church."

I will gladly continue to entrust my children to the Catholic Church and its priests, nearly all of whom are godly men of courage and conviction.

Rod Fazzari
Walla Walla

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