I disagree with Richard Sipe on a lot of things, but I think he is accurate when he speaks of the sex abuse problem being not just a bottoms-up problem, but a top-down one. In fact, I think that is the major problem. If the sex abuse of children had not been enabled from those at the top it could never have reached the scope it did. If bishops did their duty, sex abuse would have been dealt with immediately and appropriately. Bishops would have reported criminal behavior to the autorities instead of passing the predators from place to place to abuse more and more victim children. Why didn't they do their duty? For some at least (among them about a dozen who resigned for abuse) their own homosexuality was a factor.
One point Sipe makes in this article is particularly relevant to the Fr. Haley situation. Sipe says:
The main point is that the dynamic [i.e., "sexual sponsorship" of younger priests and seminarians by superiors] is in operation and affects even good, observant clergy who cannot speak openly because the secret system will not tolerate them. Where are they to go? The press will not touch malfeasance on this level of the power system without impossible vetting that will expose the whistle blower to potential or certain destruction. Who of the many-in-the-know within the secret clerical system have that kind of courage?
"Expose the whistle-blower to potential or certain destruction." That about sums up what happened to Fr. Haley and other good priests doesn't it? Is the "secret system" still in effect? Considering that the bishops were quick to shift the blame from themselves to priests and laity, especially parents, I'd say it's a safe bet.
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