By Edward J. Leahy
We are all of us moved and angered when stories break about priests abusing children.
And there is no question that the Catholic Church for years covered up these incidents, in many cases moving the guilty to other parishes where they could continue their depredations.
It is therefore fitting that the Diocese of Brooklyn should want to do what it can to make amends in the name of proven guilty parties.
However, I have recently learned that a plaintiff law firm is soliciting former schoolmates of mine regarding a priest who served in our parish, Sts. Joachim and Anne, in the 1960s and early ‘70s. I served as an altar boy there from 1963-66, and he said many masses that I served, including my very first. He was never anything but kind and friendly.
The most elemental right in our system is that the accused be allowed to face his accuser. Unfortunately, the priest in question died 17 years ago and so is unable to rebut any charges made against him.
And while it may seem harmless if the Diocese pays yet another settlement for the lawyers to go away, it actually does great harm. It slanders a good and decent man whose only crime was to not be alive to defend himself.
Edward J. Leahy