Skip to comments.'I Saw the [Catholic] Bishops Lie on the Stand' (former church insider helps sex abuse victims)
Posted on 04/21/2002 7:49:19 AM PDT by SkyPilot
RAMSTEIN AB, Germany
Hundreds of alleged victims of clergy sex abuse might never have come forward if not for a former Roman Catholic insider who is now a military chaplain at Ramstein Air Base.
The Rev. Thomas Doyle once was a canon lawyer at the Vatican Embassy in Washington, D.C., and on the fast track to becoming a bishop.
But soon after the first major U.S. clergy scandal emerged in the late 1980's, Doyle says he saw a conflict between trying to protect the church and the victims--and sided with the victims.
Now he is one of the few priests committed to appearing as an expert witness for alleged abuse victims in civil court. He has consulted with hundreds of victims in the United States, Canada, Ireland, Britain, New Zealand and Australia, and testified in dozens of cases.
Victims' advocates hail him as a long-running hero. In public, church officials are gently critical of Dole, although sometimes there are private expressions of hostility.
Doyle, an American, insists his goal has always been to help the church become a better institution.
"I wasn't outspoken because I wanted to be a maverick," Doyle said in an interview at his apartment in southwestern Germany. "I found out the system didn't want to bear the truth. I was shocked."
When clerical sex abuse of minors first became an issue, Doyle worked at the embassy, where he administered the promotions of U.S. Bishops. He was smart and ambitious--with masters degrees in philosophy, political science, theology, and canon law.
In 1984, Doyle was asked to prepare a response to a letter from the vicar-general of Louisiana informing the embassy that the Rev. Gilbert Gauthe was accused of sexually abusing five children.
"At that time," Doyle said, "I was still trying to protect the institutional church at the same time as the victims."
The scandal at first appeared containable. Gauthe's diocese was negotiating settlements. But a week later, another letter arrived at the embassy: One of the families had pulled out and was filing a civil law suit.
The case became a watershed, marking the first time the U.S. church publicly confronted sex abuse of minors. Gauthe pleaded guilty to molesting 11 boys and admitted to victimizing dozens more.
Working with two other men, the Rev. Michael Peterson, a psychiatrist who has since died, and Gauthe attorney Ray Mouton, Doyle drafted a protocol intended to help the bishops deal with clergy abuse.
But, the 98-page manual describing a broad range of medical, legal, insurance, and pastoral issues was never formally adopted as the authors hoped, despite its initial backing from influential cardinals.
With his career stalled, Doyle joined the military in 1986 and turned his focus toward helping survivors of priest sex abuse.
Said Mouton: "I really believed in what we were doing. He believed in what we were doing."
"It was like the church said, 'You go walk point for us and find the enemy.' and we did, we found the enemy and radioed back, "The enemy is us.' And they called a strike in on us."
Survivors of clerical abuse say innumerable cases never would have been heard without Doyle.
A rugged and trim 57, Doyle is comfortable with his everyday life in the Air Force. He loves to fly airplanes, is a lifelong member of the National Rifle Association and is more at ease in military battle dress than a Roman collar.
"There is more integrity in the leadership of the military than in the Roman Catholic Church," he said. "An officer does not walk past a problem."
Doyle seems surprised the latest American scandals have led to next week's meeting with the pope, Vatican officials and U.S. cardinals. But in contrast to previous cases, he said, both the offenders and the superiors who protected them now are being held accountable.
"I was involved in all the big cases," Doyle said. "I saw the bishops lie on the stand. I saw the evidence, clear as a bell. But they survived. It's like the Teflon hierarchy. This time, it's different."
1) come away repentant toward specific actions regarding the molestation of children.
2)Provide new policies that guarantee every allegation is turned over to civil law inforcement for a proper investigation
3)come away from this a stronger Church with renewed enthusiasm for Christ's and the Church's teachings.
Bishops and Cardinals are, first and foremost, politicians. That's how you claw your way up the ladder in a bureaucracy.
He is very comfortable doing what he's doing, and the fact that the hierarchy condemns him in public must give him a great deal of solace.
Doyle knows where all the bodies are buried and how much more lies beneath the surface.
He did the Dateline interview in Boston about a month ago.
I have passed on some of what you discuss here on FreeRepublic. He was very interested, especially in some of your thoughts sinkspur.
Come on...He may indeed be a great guy, but I'd bet he'd like to take back this howler. Just think about the actions of the military during the Clinton administration, for starters....
I wonder why the article does NOT mention that the former Fr. Gauthe is sitting in Angola Prison in LA right now. When he comes up for parole, the liberal nuns argue for his release. His fellow priests always go to the Parole Board and argue AGAINST it!
This should be interesting.
I am going to stand w a y over there for awhile...(Now where did I put those earplugs...)
I don't know. All humans are fallen creatures and sinful. We ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. If it wasn't so serious, God's son would not have had to endure torture and death to save the human race.
But, I believe it was Father McBrien who said that the priesthood served as a "cover" for many homosexuals. Two reasons--
1. Some thought celibacy would "cure" them of their lust towards other men and boys
2. The priestly vow of celibacy was an easy answer for questions as to their status: Question: "Why are you not married?"---answer - "Oh, I am studying to be a priest."
"Oh--OK--that makes sense."
Again, the above was offered by a priest.
No. I was citing the fact that Clintoon was the Commander in Chief, rendering the gentleman's point about the superiority of the military and its refusal to "walk past a problem" a howler.
It goes on in all religions.
Baptist congregations typically strip their pastors of their positions immediately upon learning of any credible accusations of any kind of abuse, and the Southern Baptist Convention kickes them out of the convention.
Abusers are everywhere. How they're handled sends a signal to the perps and victims alike.
This is a bizarre statement.
And, if the minister had done something, would it have been the woman's fault?