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Letter: Abuse makes it impossible to support Catholic Church

Abuse makes it impossible to support Catholic Church

For the first time in 34 years as a Catholic, I skipped Easter Mass and felt no guilt.

Growing up in Catholic school from kindergarten through my grad program, I’ve always trusted my church to act with integrity, candor and decency. Over the last month, I’ve witnessed the complete opposite from the Buffalo Diocese.

I grew up with one of the priests named in the diocese’s listing of 42 men accused of sexual abuse. A close friend was baptized by one of these men. We feel betrayed and disgusted – and we’re not even the victims.

I can’t bring myself to walk into a church with my 2-year-old son knowing what went on behind closed doors. People do not come forward with mortifying tales decades later for the fame or attention. I trust these individuals and my heart goes out to them. But as much as I blame the priests, I blame the diocese. It chose to keep up a façade rather than show it has zero tolerance for child molesters, pedophiles and rapists. The Catholic Diocese cared more about its appearance than its duties – and that sickens me.

I don’t have an answer for how the diocese should respond to these accusations. The clergy taught us to do the Christian thing, to do what you know in your heart is right. Perhaps instead of sending priests who claim their acts were simply “fueled by alcohol” to therapeutic retreats, the church should laicize them and get them real help.

My personal religious beliefs will not be affected by this ongoing repulsive display of apathy from the diocese, but I will practice differently. The church may no longer get my presence or money, but it will get my prayers.

Callie Banko

West Seneca

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