FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 27, 2015
Clergy sex abuse in my home diocese in the beginning and now, today.
The clergy sex abuse crisis ignited in my home diocese in Lafayette, Louisiana and provided the basis for my book "In God's House."
Thirty-one years later, I find myself living as an expatriate near the Atlantic coast in southern France, in a mountain village, a region that appears as a peaceful, pastoral paradise, dotted by steeples of Catholic churches. There are four Catholic churches within two miles of my home here, but only two have priests as France has few priests left and they are aged. No one wants to be a priest here anymore.
This page has reported on the huge scandal involving the cardinal in Lyon, France on the eastern edge of France - he covered up crimes of priests and the Vatican took no action against him despite his admission of guilt.
One May 6, all the way across France from Lyon, in the archdiocese where I reside, the Archdiocese of Bayonne, France, the front page news in all the newspapers is a story about the archbishop of Bayonne having covered up crimes of pedophile priests.
The crisis and scandal is literally everywhere there is a presence of the Roman Catholic Church.
The clergy child sex abuse crisis and scandal has engulfed the Roman Catholic Church for three decades, and it has followed me from south Louisiana to southern France.
Thirty-one years ago, I first naively believed that Fr. Gilbert Gauthe in the Diocese of Lafayette, Louisiana, was surely sui generis, the only priest who ever sodomized hundreds of boys, a man who was obviously mentally ill or so I thought, for in the beginning I simply could not believe the bishop and other superiors of the priest knew he had been raping seven to ten year old boys for years.
Then I obtained knowledge that this Louisiana diocese had harbored over a dozen sex abusing priests.
Joining up with Fr. Tom Doyle and Fr. Michael Peterson and traveling through dioceses all across the United States, I learned the then unknown, submerged crisis and scandal was immense, far larger than anyone could imagine.
In subsequent decades it was revealed this horror existed in every Catholic diocese on earth.
Yet, sometimes even I am somewhat surprised by how pervasive the crisis and scandal is. When I read the news that there was a crisis and scandal that has arisen in the archdiocese where I reside today, I was not so much surprised as I was again saddened to receive another confirmation that just about every bishop, archbishop, and cardinal in the world continues today to cover up clergy sex crimes.
The issue is framed in IN GOD'S HOUSE, a very clear and simple issue it is.
It is children versus criminals!
Ray Mouton, author of "In God's House"