Recently I read another letter to the editor condemning Bishop Jenky for not giving monetary compensation to victims of abuse. It always raises the following questions in my mind. Will money really fix the problem? Will it punish the attacker?
Money is not a cure-all. I would think victims would much prefer justice. Sending predators to jail and providing counseling and support groups for victims seems an appropriate response.
If the Catholic Church pays the victim, who really is paying? It is not the priest who abused the child. It is not the church officials personally. It is the congregations, which in turn become a victim.
Why did the parents report it to the church instead of to the police? As a parent, if one of my children came home and told me this had happened to them, my first response would be to call the authorities. If the parents had done this, then the matter would have been exposed and dealt with from the very first victim preventing subsequent victims. The most the church could do, would be remove the priest from the priesthood; they can't send him to prison. Unless a predator is entered into the criminal system, he can still find victims within the community. Abuse of this nature is a criminal matter and should be dealt with by the law.
The Catholic Church has begun an education program which teaches parents about recognizing abuse and preventing it. They also have instituted a policy of performing background checks and fingerprinting on anyone who works with children. I would like to see these types of safeguards in place in every situation that places children in the care of adults - schools, scouting, sports, recreational programs, etc.