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I am a Third Order Franciscan of the Province of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Sexual abuse and the priesthood

Dover priest marks 50 years of serving God - Fosters

The experiences of Father Paul Gregoire demonstrate some of the problems dealing with accusations of sexual abuse - that is, how can one act to both protect children and respond appropriately to cases of real abuse and also protect priests from false accusations.

Fr. Gregoire was suspended from ministry for nine months after being accused of committing sexual abuse in the 1970s. The Vatican later determened the accusations were not credible, but not until after he had to undergo all the media scrutiny that comes along with any accusation. One has only to look at the case of Chicago Cardinal Bernadine for another case of false accusation.

While the past response of shuffling abusing priests was reprehensible, is justice served by stigmitizing the innocent because once an innocent person iis accused how can they ever get their reputation restored?


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