Church On Trial: Your View

Your Reactions To Our Story

We asked viewers to share their thoughts about how the Catholic Church has handled its current crisis. We received over 1,200 emails to our question. Find out what some of you had to say.

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Having been raised a Catholic, I am ashamed of what my religion is now synonymous with. The Catholic Church has, for years, been the cause of tremendous problems. The Church has been hypocritical and abusive for years. To get through this situation, one needs to separate their spirituality from the religion. The religion is a bureaucratic institution that focuses on self-preservation above all else. The spirituality and morality Catholics are raised with--grace and humility, kindness and forgiveness--are separate from the institution that has yet to be anything but hypocritical.

-Erin
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The news media and David Letterman have made it seem that anyone wearing a Roman collar is a pedophile. There are thousands of good holy priests in the Church who should be respected and honored for their commitment to the saving of Souls.

-Ronald
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I think that the church is NOT handling this situation correctly. Any priest who is definitely guilty of abusing a child should be relieved of his duties IMMEDIATELY. One time should be enough. And any person guilty of moving a priest from parish to parish, should also be relieved. These priests should also serve jail time, just like the rest of the population would. I do not see the need for all these meetings on how the church should handle the situation, turn guilty people over to the law and that should be the end of it.

-Lisa
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I cannot understand why the Catholic Church has the final word on the future of these priests. Where is the law in all this? Why are they not facing prison sentences?

-D.A.
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I think the Catholic Church has always handled this matter in an appropriate manner in most of all the Dioceses throughout the United States. Unfortunately it wasn't so in a few, such as Boston. Catholic Clergy, like our Fine Protestant Pastors and maybe some reporters, are human. If there is a problem with a pedophile clergy and there is more than sufficient proof other than hearsay, then the proper authorities should act in a responsible manner. However, when there is no sufficient evidence and it proves to be a hoax only to embarrass the Catholic Church or any Protestant Church, then the accuser should prosecuted. There are people and some news media that are making a mockery of all of these incidents. Unlike some reports that were reported, the Catholic Church will survive and the strong flock will get faithfully stronger.

-Ismael
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I grew up in South Louisiana where Father Gauthe was our priest for several years at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church. It was always common knowledge that he did this and no one did anything. Father Gauthe was not the only priest at that church believed to have committed these types of crimes against the children of the parish. I blame the church and the diocese for never stepping forward to rectify the situation. Moving a priest to another parish was not a solution only a method of removing the problem from that parish.

-Lola
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I think any abuse whether it be of a child or adult is wrong. My concern is this, does CBS believe the Catholic Church is the only denomination at fault. Although they are wrong with what they did, you seem to be concentrating on only the Catholic Church. Why? Those men are only as human as any other pastor or preacher or minister.

-Al
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It is a very sad day for the church. I am a convert and have always loved my religion. The religion is fine. The priesthood is sick. I must say that there are many priests who do a very good job. They are dedicated to the church and to its people. Those priests who have done these terrible things and those who helped them cover it up have put a cancer on the church that may never be cured. It breaks my heart. I pray for those who have been hurt. I pray for the good priests. I have no prayers for the priests who have done this terrible act.

-Nancy
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First understand the Catholic Church, IS NOT A Priest, Nor a Bishop and not even the Pope! The Catholic Church is the Body of Christ, which is all the members of the Catholic Faith! Yes Bishops and Priests did make grave mistakes, however they are humans not the Church. Representatives of the Church but not the church. I pray for those who were abused and pray for the Bishops to address the issues. The Church will survive and be stronger because of this. Those who made mistakes will have to accept responsibility. Those who abused anyone will have to and should face criminal charges, yet God will be the final judge for their eternal life. May God bless and give strength to everyone involved, especially the victims.

-Bill
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Thank you for airing this piece on the Catholic Church. The hypocrisy at the core of this bureaucracy is appalling. The lack of human concern for the victims of their priests is unfathomable. Raping children and covering it up - and failing to offer support when the abuse is uncovered - truly beyond belief. How can the Catholic Church expect to command respect and support from their members?

-Gwen and Mason
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We were sickened by the response of Monsignor LaRoque, when your reporter asked, "Why did you let it go on?" He grinned and gave no real verbal response- just that hideous grinning.

-Allan and Janet
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A "One strike and you're out" policy of sex abuse will not guarantee the cessation of abuse. For all the reporting being done on cases of child molestation by Catholic priests, there doesn't seem to be much investigation as to why the holy men of this faith are so prone to this behavior. No doubt an oath of celibacy at an early age, however well meaning, is nevertheless unnatural and has revealed an ugly effect. Perhaps the Church, if serious about wanting to stop this behavior, needs to give serious consideration to changing their doctrine.

-Greg
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I have been treating pedophiles for 25 years, and I have never been so disgusted with the lack of response as I've seen with the Catholic Church. For them to act like this is something new or recently discovered indicates the serious level of denial the church has been in and continues to be. Now for them to be playing hardball with the victim, have they no shame, morals or conscience? When we are dealing with pedophiles, we do not advise them to defend themselves by further abusing the victim by trying to put ANY of the responsibility on the victim for what happened. I just fervently pray that the conference of Bishops will formulate the only policy that is civil and moral, zero tolerance and all offenders be immediately reported to the legal authorities and use none of the church influence or power to shelter the molester!

-Rip
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I have just watched 60 Minutes II and am horrified. I was a student in Vincent Gillespie's class the first year he was at St. Angela's. I had known about his molesting students, but did not know that the church had moved him there from another parish, putting myself and countless others at risk. I have always considered myself to be of strong faith in my church, but this has destroyed it. I have two young children and have decided against sending them to Catholic schools, something I had always believed was the best thing I could do for them. I am not attending church anymore, and am looking into other faiths. The church failed us all as children, and it is now failing us as adults. My children will not have the upbringing I'd always imagined because of what the church has done. I am sick over the stories I heard tonight. I hope the church will finally start to do the right thing, but I will likely not be back.

-Mary
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I think it's abominable that people of God, doing God's work, took advantage of children and the hierarchy of the Church did nothing about it except cover it up and transfer them to different parishes, continuing the abuse on more and more children. I'm a Catholic convert, reared Presbyterian, who has doubts about the Catholic Church's continuing influence on the populace--I think they have lost their credence with the public. I admire Bishop Gregory and his decision to stand a "hard line" against priests who molest children. I hope the conference in Dallas passes his resolution and that priests are first and foremost treated as criminals for these offenses.

-Vicki
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The man Ed Bradley interviewed who classified these crimes as "Organized Crime," has my vote. The Catholic Church denied a Catholic Funeral for Gotti, I hope they also deny their molesting priests the same.

-C.
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By every test that I can conceive of, the church has miserably flunked in its management of the sexual abuse problem. The more I hear about this, the more enraged I feel. I thought I was unique for being molested by 3 people in the church. Now when I see how widespread the evil is, I will never again look at a man in a collar without rage and distrust.

-Megan
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From a legal standpoint, the Roman Catholic Church most certainly has not handled this crisis the way it should. In fact, I am not at all surprised considering the history of the Roman Catholic Church. Corruption within the Roman Catholic Church has always run rampant beginning from the early days of the establishment of the Roman Catholic Church, to its handling of crimes committed by their incredibly corrupt clergy during the 1500s, right down to the present day sexual abuse. What is worse, these present day sexual perpetrators are illegally being shifted from one parish to another by their own clergy. Those covering up such crimes must also be held accountable. It is really very simple. Quite frankly, I do not know why it is even open for debate. Rape, child molestation, and aiding and abetting are all crimes punishable by law in this country, regardless of who commits these crimes.

- M.
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I'll bet you if these priests had been stealing money from the church they would have been arrested and sentenced to the fullest. Using "God" to prey on children is the worst crime. It'll take years to find out exactly how many demons have gotten away with this. How do you get away with molesting hundreds of children? Wear a white collar.

-Nathan
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Priests who molest should be removed immediately and should never have been moved from parish to parish. Catholic lay people must take back the Church and must have equal leadership positions to the clergy. The U.S. government has checks and balances built into its government so that the president does not become too powerful, the judicial does not become too powerful and the House and Senate act as checks and balances on each other. The Church must devise some similar checks and balances to power as power is delegated to women and men in the church and to priests and nuns.

-Janice
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