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Letters: Reaction to Catholic abuse crisis

Pope Francis (C) and Italian priest Federico Lombardi

Pope Francis (C) and Italian priest Federico Lombardi pray on the second day of a global child protection summit for reflections on the sex abuse crisis within the Catholic Church on Friday at the Vatican. Credit: AFP/Getty Images/GIUSEPPE LAMI

The piece by scholar Cristina R. O’Keefe, “Will Catholic Church show courage?” [Opinion, Feb. 21], is timely in regard to the monumental sexual abuse scandal. However, as a practicing Catholic, I find it lacking. She says, “Churches have been emptying .  .  . threatening the church’s existence.” In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus promised the “gates of hell will not prevail” against it. We believe Him.

She lists all sorts of typical progressive concerns: “until women are embraced .  .  . until immigrants (regardless of status) .  .  . people of color or same-sex orientation are heard .  .  .”

However, she fails to mention the church’s staunch defense of life from conception to natural death, or its care for the poor, defense of religious freedom and condemnation of rising evil satanic influence.

She should become acquainted with the 2,000 years of history replete with corruption and scandal. Yet the church founded by Christ goes on and does tremendous good through the vast majority of good people.

Walter Ruzek,



When he was a parish priest, the Rev. John McGann was a close friend of my wife’s family; he attended our wedding and reception in 1956 at St. Anne’s Church in Brentwood. As a bishop, he was on the altar for both of our daughters’ weddings.

Now two women have accused him of sexually abusing them as young girls [“Bishop accused of abuse,” News, Feb. 20]. To blaspheme him like this is just like the Brent Kavanaugh hearings — guilty until proven innocent.

Brian Keane,



We have seen a slow and painful parade of priest abuse scandals revealed for many years. With every new revelation, it seems the number of those attending religious services dwindles a bit.

It is good that the truth comes out, even if it is horrid. We must remember that these are the acts of men, not of God. These men will answer to God not only for their acts but for the detachment of so many others who stop believing, who throw in the towel on their faith. Then the only things remaining for these people who give up and give in are the fleeting things of this world.

It’s so easy to give into discouragement, but don’t. St. Paul said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” With every development in this scandal, it feels like a fight to hold on to our beliefs but finish the race and keep the faith. Christianity is a creed of truth. We always keep the joy of our redeemer in our hearts and the prize of eternal life in front of us.

Randy Gunther,



With each story emerging about the church, it’s more and more embarrassing as a Catholic to be associated with our leaders. The church needs full transparency, starting at the local level.

Why can’t Bishop John Barres of the Diocese of Rockville Centre hold a town hall and invite faithful parishioners and lapsed Catholics to express their views on our church?

Aside from the abuse scandal, why not talk about the unfair and uncharitable treatment of same-sex couples and women? Wake up, church leaders! Women are equals.

A 2017 Pew Research poll found that 67 percent of U.S. Catholics support same-sex marriage. In a lesser-known story in 2018, Shelly Fitzgerald, a guidance counselor for 14 years at a Catholic high school in Indiana, was suspended from her job after school leaders found out that she had married a woman. It was also last summer that Bishop Barres published his pastoral letter on how Catholics should live their lives. Really? The hypocrisy is mind-boggling. This boys club and secrecy-laden mentality must end. Why more Catholics are not outraged is beyond me.

Jim Hickey,



I would like to see more personal accountability on the part of the perpetrators of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

I have not heard former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick express his regret for the pain and suffering he caused in sexually abusing a teenager five decades ago. It is one thing to remove him from the priesthood, but another for him to take public responsibility for his actions.

Ellen Sorge,