Msgr. Lynn’s conviction was just; unfortunately, the far more responsible official, Cardinal Bevilaqua, escaped justice –  in this world.

Many bishops have been guilty of child endangerment; but bringing them to trial within the statute of limitations is difficult, and many DAs don’t want the political fallout that comes from “persecuting” the Church.

If legislatures were serious about ending child abuse, they would strengthen the child endangerment states. As I understand it, a citizen has no obligation under common law to report a suspected crime; but the legislature can make it a civil or criminal offence to fail to do so when a child is involved.

Unless bishops know that they face jail for endangering children, some of them will continue to place children in jeopardy, when it is convenient or politically (within the Church) expedient. They think they are above the law and can do whatever they please, no matter who suffers. They are still playing games and hiding abusers.  They need to be taught a severe lesson.

I hope that the trail of Msgr. Lynn sets a precedent for several others; not all the guilty can be brought to justice, but if only a handful are, the rest will be given a needed lesson.

Deprivation of liberty and disgrace is sufficient punishment; but Msgr. Lynn know that he may experience the consequences of the penal system’s failure to protect inmates from rape and violence. He must be contemplating the fate of Father John Geoghan.

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