Saturday, March 23, 2013

Thoughts from a Victim Sex Abuse by Priests

Will Lynch in San Francisco, 2012. (LiPo Ching)
An op-ed in the San Jose Mercury News looks at the continued cover ups of sexual abuse by priests in the Roman Catholic Church and how the Church continues to enable predators.  The piece also focuses on why those who believe that things will change under Pope Francis are deluding themselves.  The Church has for centuries seen itself as above the law and nothing will change as long as (i) prosecutors fail to relentlessly prosecute both the sexual predators and those past and present who protect them, and (ii) the Catholic laity acts like mindless sheep and continues to bankroll the criminal enterprise that is the Church hierarchy.   One can continue to hold one's Catholic beliefs if they must, but that does not mean one has to finance a criminal conspiracy.  With a portion of every single dollar put in the collection plate going to the local bishop and Rome, only a total cessation of giving will get the attention of the narcissistic nasty old men in dresses who do not give a damn about the sexual abuse of children.  Here are some column highlights:

On its surface the election of Pope Francis would appear to offer renewed hope for true reform within the Catholic Church. 

Two weeks into his reign the honeymoon continues, with the media marveling at the new pope's easy smile and obvious warmth. They speak of his willingness to live modestly and travel around Rome in a Volkswagen instead of a big limousine.

While the media have the power to effect real change, they continue to focus on the superficial while ignoring the elephant in the room.

The real question to be addressed is this: When and how will Pope Francis confront the ongoing cover-up of the sexual abuse of children within his church?  I am a victim of this Catholic Church. And I want an answer to that question.

When I was seven years old and at a Catholic Church camping trip in northern California, my four year old brother and I were raped by Father Jerold Lindner. Lindner, who has been accused of abusing many others, including his own family members, has never been prosecuted. Still a priest, he roams freely from the Sacred Heart Jesuit Center in Los Gatos while still being paid by his enablers, the Catholic Church.

Not unlike many large corporations, what has driven the Catholic Church for centuries is money and unfettered power. For just those reasons, the church refuses to take responsibility for all its Fr. Jerrolds.

My story and [Cardinal] Mahony's blatant criminal neglect are sobering reminders of why the Catholic Church will never reform on its own. Only when flawed church policies and legal strategies are deemed criminal and no longer economically viable will church leaders be forced to take action against their in-house child abusers.

The most effective means to force those reforms are twofold:
1) The elimination of all civil and criminal statutes of limitations for the sexual abuse of children nationwide.
2) The withholding of all monetary contributions to the Catholic Church.

Stop wishing and hoping that this new Pope might be different. That's irrelevant.

Reach out to your local representatives and law enforcement to demand real change.  And stop reaching into your pocket.  Hit them where it hurts — in court and in the wallet.  Only then will the enablers be stripped of their power.  Only then will our children be safe.

The author of the op-ed, Will Lynch of San Francisco is founder and executive director of R.I.S.E. (, whose primary focus is a ballot initiative to eliminate the civil and criminal statutes of limitations for child sexual abuse in the 2014 California election.  Check out his ongoing effort.  Better yet, make a donation.

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