Sex Abuse

When confronted with church documents dating back to the 1950’s, two priests vehemently disagree as to why the numerous warnings contained in the documents were ignored.
On the one hand, Monsignor Stephen Rossetti, president and CEO of St. Luke Institute, believes the bishops ignored Rev. Patrick Fitzgerald’s dire warnings about priest sex abusers, because they were coming from only one source and the pleas were emotional rather than scientific.
On the other hand, Rev. Thomas Doyle, OP, who had worked with the bishops in the 1970’s and 1980’s, saw it another way. Doyle believes the bishops ignored the warnings because they simply didn’t want to deal with it. Doyle issued a document to all the US bishops in 1985 warning them again about the growing problem of sexually abusive priests.
Msgr. Rossetti claims to have no knowlege of Fr. Fitzgerald in spite of the fact that Fitzgerald’s order, the Servant of the Paracletes was the primary institution bishops would send priests with problems of sexual abuse, alcoholism, and pedophilia. Since Rossetti is engaged in the same line of work that Fitzgerald had performed decades earlier, it’s hard to believe that he had never heard of Fitzgerald. It’s also similarly difficult to dismiss Fitzgerald as “emotional” since most bishops were indeed sending their sexual abuse priest problems to him for counseling.
The situation became so dire in the 1960’s that Fitzgerald told many bishops and even the Pope about the situation. He even spent $5,000 as a downpayment for an isolated island where he could send these priests.
Since the bishops have been saying that they never knew about the depth and extent of the priest abuse problem until recently, these recently released letters from Fr. Fitzgerald are extremely important. They do a great deal of damage to the credibility of bishops who still continue to pat themselves on the back for all they’ve done to protect children in spite of their past ignorance of the situation.
Facts and documents don’t lie. It’s hard to sidestep such proof in spite of all the slick public relations efforts of the Catholic Church. The Church has a credibility issue when its own bishops dismiss someone like Fr. Fitzgerald. It gets even worse when someone like Msgr. Rossetti attempts to diminish Fitzgerald’s work and his dire warnings.
That’s why courts are ordering dioceses to make such documents public. The public needs to know what happened and why if this crisis will ever come to an end.