Tyler Catholics React To Bishop's Conference - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

6/15/02-Tyler

Tyler Catholics React To Bishop's Conference

   Locally, Catholics are divided on the decisions made at the Catholic Bishops Conference in Dallas on Friday.

   Bishops met to discuss how they would handle priests caught, or accused of sexual misconduct. Bishops decided such priests would be banned from working with parishioners, but not defrocked from the priesthood.

   After the decision, Tyler Catholics stopped by Saturday Mass as usual at the Cathedral of The Immaculate Conception. While some said the bishops made the right decision, others felt priests who commit sex crimes should be completely defrocked.

   "I think that some would want probably a stronger statement,and want the priest defrocked," said Monsignor Joe Strickland. "Whatever the bishops did wasn't going to take that suffering away, but I think we moved a step toward justice for them, and for protection that hopefully there will not be future victims."

   "Often the best decisions are the ones that don't please any party," said Dr. Louis Fernandez, a Catholic Church member."When one side is totally happy, and the other isn't, then its probably not a good one. And with this one, there seems to be a lot of problems all around, which probably means this is not an unreasonable compromise."

   Some Catholics were not as forgiving as others.

   "When they enter the priesthood, they know they have to live a life of abstinence that is known for many years," said parishioner Priscilla Kelsey. "And, if they go and disobey that and take advantage of people they should be defrocked."

   Father Joe Strickland says canon law prevents bishops from defrocking a priest.  That decision would have to come from Rome.

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