Letter to William Skylstad

Bishop William Skylstad
President, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
c/o Catholic Diocese of Spokane
PO Box 1453
1023 W. Riverside Avenue
Spokane, WA 99210-1453

Dear Bishop Skylstad:

The U.S. Conference of Bishops lacks all credibility in its “too little, too late” efforts to address abuse of minors by Catholic Clergy when its head is accused of being a child abuser himself.

Rev. Thomas Doyle wrote an unheeded report to the Conference nearly 20 years ago, attempting to move a callous hierarchy to action to halt the unending scandal of pedophiles. In his report, Rev. Doyle properly observed that the Church has the appearance of being “an organization preaching morality and providing sanctuary to perverts.”

The reason criminal predatory conduct within Church ranks remains so out of control is clearly because in many prominent cases the problem extends all the way to the top. At least 22 Roman Catholic bishops or archbishops have resigned over allegations of cover-ups of sexual abuse scandals or for being accused themselves. The shameful history of your church has been to cover up, bribe, fail to act or knowingly pass on child molesters to unsuspecting congregations.

It is hard to credit that you would indicate “a sense of progress” and “a great sense of the continuing impact of the sexual abuse crisis” by citing the fact that your own diocese is in bankruptcy over such crimes, and that you have been publicly accused of molesting a teenage girl! If these circumstances provide you with a “sense of progress,” what would give you a sense of failure?

I write as the author of the first book (Betrayal of Trust: Clergy Abuse of Children, 1988) to expose the hidden problem of pedophiliac priests and pastors. To lend a shred of credibility to Church claims of “a sense of progress” (and out of simple human decency), it is time for you to step down as Bishop of Spokane and as President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Yours sincerely

Annie Laurie Gaylor

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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