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News + Op-Ed: Church Abuse Victims Go Beyond Those Sexually Abused

By Nate Barlow     Sep 8, 2007 in World
The L.A. Times reported how several nuns at the Sister of Bethany house in Santa Barbara were informed by the Los Angeles Archdiocese that their convent will be sold to help pay for the Archdiocese’s recent $660-million priest sex abuse settlement.
The number of innocent victims of the sex abuse scandal continue to rise.
According to the Times, the three nuns who make up the convent will most likely be forced to move away from the area where they have lived for years serving the people due to the high cost of rent. The youngest of the three is 49; all are still active in the community.
What the priests did was horrible; the cover-up, inexcusable. Unfortunately a few bad apples have sullied the good work that the majority of the clergy do. What’s worse is that the pain caused could have been minimized if a few people in charge had done the right thing in the first place. Who should we as a society be more angry at–the priests or those who let them continue?
It’s a lesson in responsibility that our society as a whole needs to learn. The lack of action taken by Church officials reflects the raging epidemic of abdication of responsibility by parents with their children, by corporate officers with their companies, and by public officials with our government. Considering the overall good done by the Church, its thrashing in the media has been particularly harsh, but perhaps that’s because we expect more of our religious leaders than these other societal elements.
Like most abuse crimes, the number of victims extended far beyond those directly abused. The victims’ families… the perpetrators’ families.. the community at large… and, in this case, three honest nuns, beloved by the community, who pay a steep penalty by way of association.
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