Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Just Forgive

The following letter appeared in today's Cincinnati Enquirer:

Forgiveness doesn't require payment

Regarding "Bill would give them more time to sue church" (May 7): I have prayed for healing in the lives of the victims and priests involved with the sex abuse scandal. I beg of those who were victims to please remember the words of the Our Father, where we ask God "to forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us."

I do not think that one needs to be paid to be able to forgive. Do not allow allegations to go back 35 years, or else the hurt that you feel will be the hurt that is inflicted on all members of the archdiocese. Every lawsuit is pushing the archdiocese closer and closer to bankruptcy. Please find it in your hearts to forgive.

Gerry Elfers, White Oak

As a former altar boy at Guardian Angels Church, I had the good fortune of not meeting up with the now famous Father Cooley (go ahead and say it--the first of many who didn't want to have sex with me). I knew one of his victims and have heard another publicly speak about not just the abuse that Cooley gave him but the way the church tried to force him to keep quiet.

I've written a reply to Mr. Elfers. I doubt if the Enquirer will run it so here it is:

I'd like to second Mr. Elfers' ("Forgiveness doesn't require payment," May 11) views that victims of the Archdiocese's pedophile priests should forgive, forget, and keep their yaps shut. But is that truly enough? Is it fair to forgive a network of child rapists and not forgive someone who is their spiritual brother? Shouldn't we also forgive Osama bin Laden? Sure, he masterminded the murder of thousands but, as Mr. Elfers points out, that was a while back. Who are we to throw stones? Let's invite Mr. Laden into our group hug with the pedophile priests and their pimps in church hierarchy. After all, the recidivism rate for a terrorist is no higher than that of a child molester, and pursuing any sort of justice only makes life harder for the guilty party.

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