Tuesday, December 30, 2003

More on VOTF Atlanta and Archbishop Donoghue One of the posters below rightly took me to task: "You haven't read Abp. Donoghue's letter, in which he lays out his reasons for his decision on VOTF-Atlanta," and this was true. I was pleased to check out the web site and read the various statements earlier today. I was also pleased to see the archbishop had actually met with VOTF: something commendable I had not known. Clearly, his decision to ban VOTF was not a knee-jerk reaction. But his response to VOTF does state "confusion" regarding his perception of a lack of clarity on VOTF's goal three. It is true that other prelates have raised concerns on behalf of the faithful, and I'm assuming the archbishop does so on behalf of his flock when he describes his lawful and rightful role as bishop. "You've let loose w/a torrent of epithets at a selective list of named bishops (where are others -- Weakland most notably?)" True: I did not condemn every bishop who has erred or sinned. Some bishops harbored predators. Others have cooperated in the reassignment of predators after their best advisors told them in 1985-88 that the cure rate for sex abusers was practically nil. I am disappointed at some bishops, certainly: Weakland for his affair, Mahony at the high-handed way he administers his diocese, Bruskewicz for abuse of excommunication -- but these were not criminal acts. Harboring sexual predators is germane, and perhaps I should have neglected to mention O'Brien's hit and run fatality. All of these examples, though, point out shaky morality among some members of the episcopate. "Todd, might I suggest that you gain a better command of the facts before you go off half-cocked?" I receive your suggestion with seriousness. I will research things more diligently in the future. But I stand by my disappointment in Archbishop Donoghue. The laity of his diocese are not sure the hand of ministry and compassion has been extended to all victims, and VOTF seems an appropriate watchdog, lacking any diocesan agency. Transparency, within the bounds of appropriate legal procedure, is necessary. And sadly, a bishop's word might be as honored (or even less) than that of a lay person (dissenter or not) these days. If Donoghue has doubts about VOTF Atlanta because of what the national office says or does, are people right to doubt Donoghue because of what other bishops have said and done?

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