Sunday, March 21, 2010

Recovered Memories: It Ain't Necessarily So

Church Must Accept Reality of False Memories of Childhood Sexual Abuse

In Dallas in 2002 the bishops were quick to put in place a policy to make priests the fall guys for the sex abuse crisis. Today an accusation is as good as a conviction for a priest. And the bishops remain above it all, immediately removing an accused priests and blasting the accusation to the world even before having any proof.

Some priests are no doubt guilty, but cases of abuse based on recovered memories are shaky. The irony is that much of the abuse was actually witnessed by others. No one had to depend on a he said, she said scenario. In his book Sacrilege, Leon Podles documents numerous cases where eyewitnesses to abuse ignored it. He documents others where the abuse was reported by fellow priests to their superiors and the information was quietly ignored and suppressed.

The only consistent element in all of the abuse is that those most responsible for protecting youth, the bishops, have preferred to protect themselves from any accountability for their sins of omission.

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