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Church’s silence in sex scandal a reminder of ’70s child porn case

People sit in St. Peter's Square Thursday. Tensions in the Vatican are high following accusations that Pope Francis covered up for an American ex-cardinal accused of sexual misconduct. | Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The whole world is now watching.

As a Roman Catholic, whose church is on fire because of a monumental clerical sex-abuse scandal and cover-up, I’ve been asking myself a lot of questions lately.

It’s not my faith I doubt.

It’s the silence of a church ruled by men.

In 1976-77, I spent a year as an undercover reporter with a small cadre of Chicago policemen investigating a new scourge: child pornography.

I was the only woman on the team.

I saw things I can never erase, heard stories I can never forget.

OPINION

At the time I didn’t know men liked little boys; the word ‘pedophile’ had yet to enter my word base.

I “stranger-dangered” my small son ad nauseam.

I had to look at the horrific things done to children for sexual pleasure and for money and waited outside a seedy hotel room for a child to be brought to a pornographer. It was a nightmare.

I asked the question then: “Why?”

It turns out, there appeared to be answers.

Big money was involved via the mail (no computers at the time.) Back then, it was thought there was help for people afflicted with a desire for children, even suggestions pornography prevented many people from acting on their urges.

But what about those innocent children?

Yes, there were arrests. But no priests or ministers or rabbis. Our series was so shocking the House Judiciary Committee came to Chicago to hold hearings, which resulted in the nation’s first child pornography laws being enacted.

Decades later, when the pedophile priest scandal broke, I asked my police compadres why priests hadn’t surfaced during our probe?

The answer: “Are you kidding? Back then we weren’t arresting priests. Think about it. The church took care of its own and a lot of top [politicians and jurists] were Catholic.”

And so, once again — and this time as a Roman Catholic whose ancient Christian church is rocked by the clerical sex-abuse scandal and its continuing cover-up allegations — I once again ask: “Why?”

Only this time, there seems to be no understandable answers for this outrage — except for a broom large enough to sweep clean the secret closets of a church that calls itself the House of the Lord.

And I hope women will be wielding it and Pope Francis keeps his job.

Angel in the endzone . . .

They were birthday buddies, almost.

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, a close friend of the late-U.S. Sen. John McCain, and who was one of six people who spoke Thursday during McCain’s memorial in Phoenix, almost shared a birthday with his buddy.

• To wit: McCain would have been 82 Wednesday — and Fitzgerald turns 35 Friday, when McCain’s body lies in state at the U.S. Capitol in Washington.

RELATED ARTICLES:
EDITORIAL: Stakes too high for Pope Francis to ignore accusations
Catholic board seeks parishioner-led abuse investigation
The Catholic church covered up abuse. Can RICO laws treat it like organized crime?
Catholic Church may have cleaned up, but it has never come clean

Foot stare . . . 

First lady Melania Trump was once again spotted in strange foot gear while “planting” on the White House grounds.

• On Monday, She planted an Eisenhower Oak sapling while wearing what looked like a 6-inch pair of Christian Louboutin heels paired with a $4,000 floral print Valentino skirt.

Backshot: Last month a 2017 snapshot went viral of the first lady harvesting veggies during a public event at Michelle Obama’s White House garden patch sporting navy blue sneakers with spotless white soles.

Sneedlings . . .

Sneed’s fave, Candace Jordan, co-chairs this year’s Green Tie Ball with Nina Mariano. The duo are having such Seussical fun with the party theme: “Green Eggs & Glam” on Sept. 14 at the Geraghty. The fete benefits Chicago Gateway Green. . . . Today’s birthdays: Chris Tucker, 47; Larry Fitzgerald, 35; and Richard Gere, 69.