Local Priest Discusses Church Problems

So how do the problems of sexual abuse by some priests of the Catholic Church impact Catholics in Alabama? Father Sherlock from St. Peter's Catholic Church talked to Michael Briddell on Wednesday's Live at Five.

Q: Has the scandal at all affected the Catholic Church here in Alabama?

"Yes, I think it's affected Catholic churches everywhere, in the sense that there's a sense of embarrassment and shame that all of a sudden, all at one time, this came out. An awful lot of us did not know it. The unfortunate part about it, in terms of the shame, is that a lot that's being talked about ... happened 20,30,40 years ago. That doesn't make it any easier. Anybody who abuses a child is criminal."

Q. Does the plan go far enough, for instance it isn't calling for the automatic dismissal of a priest who commits sexual abuse?

"I think what we will see when the American bishops meet is that when it comes to the case of pedophiles, the first time he does it, he will be dismissed...people will be weeded out, if they haven't been already."

Q. Speculation was that priests would be allowed to marry, but this didn't make it into the plan. Does it marry consideration?

"Not in this context. Most pedophiles, if I've read correctly, are married men.... Most homosexuals don't want to get married so I don't think that marriage is part of the solution."

Q. What lesson can we take away from this and the Church's response to it?

"I think there's a lesson that ....applies to Catholics, everybody, and to America. Once we start easing off on principles other things start creeping in. I think this has happened within the church....As the Church loosened certain things up, other things snuck in under the windows and under the doors and got in and came up for debate. Just as I think we've had in our society too."