I read with interest, and sadness, Jack Crowe’s narrative of his experiences with sexual assault and inappropriate sexual contact within the Catholic Church [Catholics need a Truth & Reconciliation Commission, Viewpoints, Dec. 5]. I could not agree more with his call for a truth and reconciliation commission within the Catholic Church. I too, however, am not optimistic that the Catholic Church will ever give an honest accounting.
I recently took note of the church’s public relations effort to rewrite history with regard to how credible allegations of sexual abuse have been handled within the Catholic Church. It happened two Sundays ago in the parish bulletin published by St. Giles where I read, in a column written by Fr. Carl Morello, that the procedures for reporting credible accusations of sexual misconduct and assault dating back to the era of Cardinal Bernardin were “model policies.”
I was stunned to read this since I knew from my own experience that this was not the case. I grew up in St. Cletus Parish in LaGrange where Fr. Thomas Job raped many seventh- and eighth-grade altar boys during the 1980s. When these credible allegations were reported to the archdiocese by one of the boy’s mothers and also by the school principal, Fr. Tom was transferred to another parish where he was able to continue to rape young boys. This was all under the supervision of Cardinal Bernardin. This can hardly be described as a model policy. When I questioned Fr. Carl about his column he told me he was passing along information that was provided to him by the Archdiocese. If you want to read more about Fr. Tom, you can find more information about him here: https://www.andersonadvocates.com/Documents/timelines/Job%20Thomas%20final.pdf
What I see on the part of the Catholic Church is an effort to gloss over this sad and awful history. I guess they figure that if they repeat the lie enough, people will just accept it as fact. They are closing ranks to protect their own because a full accounting of the truth would require that this broken institution radically change.