The behavior of priests and their superiors in Pennsylvania is shameful (“Bishops in Pennsylvania ‘did nothing,’ ‘hid’ priests’ sexual crimes, report says,” Aug. 15). Everyone agrees something must be done. The pope says so. The Vatican says so. But it is all talk, no action. The church will keep shuffling pedophile priests from parish to parish and the abuse will continue.

Action is needed, and here’s an idea. Every Catholic church in Pennsylvania should be closed and padlocked until the end of the year. For four months, there is no Catholic church in the state. No income. No services. No nothing.

You can imagine what the reaction of this would be. They would think of all sorts of reasons to refuse an idea so radical. So expensive. So harmful to Catholicism. And yet, instead of prayers and sorrow and pledges to do better, it might actually help. It might be a wake up for all levels, from Vatican down to parishioners.

Tough to do? You bet, but that’s how the church should do it. That’s why it’s called penance.

Jack Becklund


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