POLITICAL observations & opinions

* the Catholic Church is worsening the sins of the past by taking a leading role in preventing abused children from getting the compensation they need to help remedy past abuse

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 27, 2010

adding Bishop xxx and Cardinal Hojos to the shameful gallery of enablers

Lawrence Lessig writes in a NYT Op-Ed (4/27/10) …

  • LAST week, Pope Benedict XVI (claimed) that the Catholic Church was doing all it could to investigate abuse accusations and find ways to safeguard children in the future.
  • With the pope’s pledge, and the resignation in recent days of three European bishops involved in the sex abuse scandal, it might appear that the church is finally taking responsibility for failing to protect children against molesters for hundreds of years.
  • But the church is not doing everything in its power to help victims.
  • In fact, it is worsening the sins of the past by taking a leading role in preventing abused children from getting the compensation they need to help remedy past abuse.
  • Assemblywoman Margaret Markey, a Queens Democrat, has introduced a bill to give victims another five years to seek compensation, plus a one-year window for victims blocked by the old limitations to now bring suit. That legislation has passed the Assembly three times, yet the Senate has refused to consider it. It has now been reintroduced into the Assembly.
  • At the core of the opposition to this bill is heavy lobbying by the New York Catholic Conference;
  • At least one bishop is reported to have threatened to close schools and parishes in legislators’ districts if they vote for the bill.
  • If the New York Catholic Conference stops this reform, it will achieve three things.
    • First, it will protect its own wealth.
    • Second, it will assure that potentially thousands of victims who have been abused by priests will have no opportunity for compensation.
    • And third, it will help preserve a system of irresponsibility that makes it too easy to ignore child sexual abuse, because the costs of ignoring it are lower in New York than in most other states.
  • If Pope Benedict and the church want redemption for the crimes of Catholic priests, there must continue to be confessions of those past sins.
  • But just as important, the church must look at what it is doing today and end its campaign to block the weak and the vulnerable from receiving help to deal with the consequences of criminal sexual abuse.

Lawrence Lessig is a law professor and the director of the Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics at Harvard.

Read the entire article at … http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/27/opinion/27lessig.html

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