Letters: In deference to church, grand jury report delayed

Posted: February 23, 2011

I'm sure I'm not alone in noting the disconnect between the headline "Keeping religion out of work" (Sunday) and the report that District Attorney Seth Williams delayed the release of a grand jury investigation on sexual abuse in deference to Catholic Schools Week.

I'm sure the district attorney knew that no one would be placed in jeopardy in the intervening two weeks, and he would never have held up the report had he thought otherwise. But why did the public's right to know - or Catholics' right to know about priests among them who were about to be criminally charged - take second place to preventing the possible taint of Catholic Schools Week? Wouldn't any taint have been the archdiocese's own fault for failing to heed the lessons of the prior grand jury report? Didn't Williams effectively shield the archdiocese from the fallout of its own missteps precisely because he is Catholic?

The article's focus should have been Williams' admitted compromise of the public's right to know out of deference to his own religious affiliation, and on the questions this issue raises about his suitability for office. Williams should take a page from a speech by John Kennedy in the 1960 campaign, in which he put to rest the concerns that his allegiance to his church might compromise his constitutional obligations were he to win the presidency.

Gerald J. Schorr

Melrose Park

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