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Let's Put Out One Fire Before Jumping to Another!

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Message Debby Bodkin
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As a Catholic wife, mother, U.S. citizen and supporter in the Survivors of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), I continue to question why Catholic Bishops, Cardinals and/or government leaders refuse to put out one fire, before jumping to another.

There are two politically-charged topics in the U.S. today - the clergy sexual misconduct scandals and immigration reform.

Catholic leaders are now using the pulpit to seek immigration reform support from the faithful in the pews. Yes, immigration reform and legislation is a hot fire but we cannot forget a more serious fire which has been burning for many years, one that must be resolved and concerns the protections of children, justice and healing - the clergy sex abuse scandals.

Have there been any public reports that a Catholic leader has requested the faithful in the pews to support victims of childhood sex abuse crimes right to seek justice and healing?

Unfortunately, there have been public reports that Catholic Bishops continue to hire lobbyists, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to defeat legislation that would finally resolve the majority of clergy sexual misconduct issues in the U.S.

Spinning government and religious reform from the pulpit is confusing. Recent examples:

* Cardinal Mahony's (LA Catholic Archdiocese) continued use of the pulpit to preach immigration reform but yet, has Cardinal Mahony put out the fire relating to the approximate 560 clergy sexual misconduct lawsuits pending in Los Angeles, before jumping to another?

* Bishop Brown (Diocese of Orange) recently preached immigration reform on Pentecost Sunday and during a Confirmation Mass but yet, has Bishop Brown put out the fire relating to failures to provide written Whistleblower protections to employees and members of the laity, as mandated reporters, free from adverse employment decisions or harassment, before jumping to another?

* Have government leaders failed to resolve the denials of due process and failures to protect children from clergy sexual misconduct within religious institutions, before jumping to another?

Children and adults will never be safe from sex abuses or other dangers until government and religious leaders acknowledge and correct the wrongs that have been committed against precious children and their families, including the demand of accountability for Whistleblower protections.

HOT political fires are tough for Society to correct and we should put out one fire before jumping to another. Unfortunately, when separation of Church and State boundaries are involved, it is easy to abandon the clergy sexual misconduct crisis for immigration reform. This is wrong.

Our children today deserve to witness how we put out one fire before jumping to another. There are federal laws relating to immigration reform; however, there are no federal laws relating to the protections of children and the return of due process to victims of clergy sex abuses.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops will meet next week in Los Angeles.

Will the Bishops jump to the fire of immigration reform, ignoring the long burning fires relating to unresolved clergy sexual misconduct issues nationwide?

Will Bishops jump from the fire of painful facts relating to the failures to protect children from sex abuses, in addition to failing to provide Whistleblower protections to employees who do the right thing and protect children?

Will Bishops request the laity to abandon the clergy sex abuse fires to jump to the immigration reform fires?

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As an amateur writer, mother, wife and legal secretary for the past 25 years, my passion for the courage of clergy sex abuse victims, their families and mandated reporters, who made a choice to protect children, before their own career security and (more...)
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