30 Jan 2011

Washington archbishop claims Catholic clergy abuse is all historic, abusive priests now dealt with appropriately, but church still fights victims

WLTX.com December 26, 2010

Archbishop of Washington Talks Sexual Abuse, "Don't Ask Don't Tell"

by James Gilbert

Washington, DC (CBS News) -- Archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Donald Wuerl appeared on "Fox News Sunday," where he addressed the Catholic church's response to allegations of sexual abuse, and the religion's views on the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

"When we look back and we talk about sexual abuse, we're talking about something that happened 10, 20, even 30 years ago," Wuerl said. "We have succeeded in terms of the church and her response. We have succeeded in guaranteeing that if a priest is accused, and there is a credible allegation, he is simply removed from the ministry. That is reported to the authorities, and we begin to try to heal whatever was damaged in that abuse."

Wuerl said, "I think it's one of the great accomplishments of the church. It recognized there was a serious problem. It dealt with it forthright and then moved on to see that we're in a much, much better place, a much safer place today."

On "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," Wuerl said, "And there isn't a specific Catholic Church position, but whatever happens, it has to be seen in terms of the church's teaching position. And that is, human sexuality is something that is supposed to be exercised responsibly and within the context of marriage."

Wuerl discussed the Catholic Church's stance on gay marriage, saying that while the religion will not "redefine marriage," its members serve everyone in need. He also spoke on the message of Christmas, and how it's about "bringing out the best."

"The Catholic Church in her social service ministry serves everyone, no matter what their race, religion, sexual orientation, background, whatever that is, we serve everyone," Wuerl said, "But there is some things we won't do, some things we can't do. Abortion would be one of them. We simply can't do that. And so when we are asked to redefine marriage, we can't do that. But we can serve everybody who comes to us with need."

"Christmas is a time when we all can look with hope to the future," Wuerl said, "That's part of the message of Christmas. There is the best in each one of us. And we're all capable of bringing out the best. And to do that together with one another, in a very pluralistic society, says that we can look to the future with hope, because if we respect and love one another, there is nothing we can't accomplish."

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