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"Hidden Blessings"

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Message Debby Bodkin
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"Hidden" Blessings

April 12, 2006

Dear Editor, Catholics & Concerned Citizens:

As a Catholic wife and mother, this season has always delivered "Hidden" Blessings, with renewals of faith, hope and reflection.

Unfortunately, the children are no longer agreeable to matching "Easter Outfits" and half of the children are away at colleges on the east coast. Never did I realize how fast time would fly by and how much we would miss family discussions regarding "Hidden" Blessings.

Since the nationwide clergy abuse scandals erupted, the lives of many Catholics have changed and being a Catholic isn't all that easy, sometimes the blessings are hard to recognize. There have been painful truths publicly disclosed and it is difficult to confront the scandals head-on, with one's personal holiness.

As a Catholic family, we did not personally experience the devastation of clergy sex abuse but somehow, we find ourselves struggling with our faith. There are "Hidden" Easter Blessings this season and yes, the Holy Spirit is alive and actively working. Just witness and listen to the courage and public outcry of clergy sex abuse survivors and their families and blessings you will find.

There is also much sadness along with the "Hidden" Blessings. Many families have children fighting in our country's war against terrorism and cannot be together.

Many victims of abuse are still living in silence and shame, fearing what will happen if they publicly speak out to their families and communities of faith.

Many families fear what immigration reform will bring to their lives and whether they will remain together as a family in the months ahead.

In the midst of Holy Week, reading George Neumayr's "Cardinal Sin" (posted on, hit hard. In sum, Mr. Neumayr explains how Cardinal Mahony wrote a letter to President Clinton, on behalf of Carlos Vignali, asking for clemency for the cocaine dealer.

As Christianity teaches, this is an act of forgiveness; however, in this situation, Cardinal Mahony didn't even know Carlos Vignali and wrote the letter because someone Mahony respected and/or was politically-connected to, asked him to write the letter to President Clinton.

Maybe back then, writing a letter on behalf of an individual was not so awful. But today, it is the acts of Cardinal Mahony and other Bishops nationwide, that bring humility to Catholics trying to understand what is going on.

* Why would an influential Cardinal of the Catholic Church assist a convicted drug felon in avoiding legal consequences when today, the same Cardinal spends approximately $500,000 a month in public relations and legal fees to fight civil justice that California legislation guarantees clergy abuse victims?

* How many other influential Cardinals, Bishops and government leaders nationwide have written similar letters over the years, on behalf of clergy and employees who have molested innocent children, with the hope of granting clemency to child molestors who are connected to an influential religious organization?

* Why are influential Cardinals, Bishops and government leaders nationwide fighting for immigration reform BUT spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to defeat state legislation that would protect children from sex abuse crimes and return civil due process to survivors of past sex abuse crimes?

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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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