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Letter: The scandal-ridden church

The Catholic Church was shocked when Pope Benedict resigned. Me, not so much. What a mess the church is in.

Arriving at the Vatican, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York said, “It’s great that the world is so interested in the picking of our next pope.” That was the last word, before a gag order was imposed on all the cardinals. Most couldn’t make the trip before yet another scandal hit the press.

Just in the past week I read: Vatican bank charged with money laundering; a clique of gay priests within the Vatican being blackmailed by male prostitutes; Cardinal Keith O’Brien of the U.K. resigning. (The cardinal, an outspoken antigay advocate, got a bit frisky with his male staff.) Some of the worst criticism is coming from victim advocacy groups.

SNAP (not a popular fitness center but a survivors network of those abused by priests) published a list of the “dirty dozen” bishops. Here are a few examples of who is voting for the next pope.

Cardinal Dolan of New York, who paid $20,000 to predator priests to leave the church, promising anonymity.

Cardinal Justin Raguli of Philadelphia, who kept names of child-molesting priests hidden, claiming, “There are no priests with accusations against them.” One month later a grand jury threatened the cardinal with arrest and he promptly suspended 37 priests for child abuse.

Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles, who spent some 20 years protecting nearly 100 accused abusers.

Hundreds of victims so far, $660 million paid in settlements and a lukewarm apology from the cardinal: “I was naïve to the harm being done.” Anyone that naïve shouldn’t be allowed to pick his nose, let alone a pope.

The list goes on.

Here is my message to the faithful. With declining numbers of priests, why needlessly exclude the largest pool of candidates, married men and women? The current all-male club and celibacy is not working.

Daniel R. Jacobs