By Carey Taylor | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Roman Catholic Church has been in the news again for more of the same — of years of child rape and abuse in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
Once news broke of retired Cardinal Roger Mahony concealing child rape and abuse by priests under his charge for more than a decade, he was relieved of all duties. Mahony’s protection of abusive priests is not he first such case in the Catholic Church.
“Let’s face it, the whole sex abuse has been a huge black mark on the church,” said the Rev. Thomas S. Willis of The Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine.
Since The New York Times reported last month that Mahony covered up the rape and abuse of almost 100 boys, many Catholics have been soul-searching again.
Lauren DeGeorge, 21 and a Flagler College senior, has been a devout Catholic since birth.
“It makes me question what I believe since all these bad things are happening in a church that I am actively a part of,” said DeGeorge.
Andrew Kustodowicz, 21 and indifferent to organized religion, wants more investigations into Catholic churches around the country.
“There is a bad stigma on the Catholic Church because of the early 2000’s and all that scandal. But there should be more investigation into church documents of all Catholic churches,” said Kustodowicz.
In the early 2000’s, more than 200 cases of child rape and abuse in the Catholic Church surfaced.
“I understand where both the media and the people in general get frustrated,” said Willis.
Although many Catholic leaders and parishioners understand the concerns of Kustodowicz and others like him, they do not think the rape and abuse cases, as well as their cover-ups, should be a reflection on every Catholic church.
“All these cases, even dating back from years ago, should be treated as secluded occurrences. They aren’t reflecting the Catholic religion since these people (Catholic leaders who commit the rape and abuse) are acting out of free will, not the will of God,” said Patrick McGrath, a 24-year-old Catholic, of St. Augustine.
Willis and DeGeorge agree.
“The sad part is that we even have to face this. If we had just done what we should have done morally, we wouldn’t be in this position,” said Willis.
“I will still attend Mass and actively practice my Catholic faith. The free-willed acts of members of the church are not going to deter me from my religious beliefs,” DeGeorge added.