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LETTER

Don’t Mock Church For Crimes

Over the past three years, I have been a silent objector to MIT posters that have morally offended me. I never said anything about the lingerie party, the condom party, or the promiscuous posters advertising the beast roast. However, I was infuriated and saddened when I saw a poster of a cat-calling priest appear on a bulletin board in the infinite corridor. In fact, I took it down.

I am a Catholic. Not the kind who goes to church only on Christmas and Easter. Not the kind who hangs a rosary off the car mirror, but the kind who goes to confession, is pro-life, and asks for the intercession of saints before making major decisions. It is as a Catholic that I voice my support of the church during this turbulent time.

Even so, supporting my faith does not mean that I am about to defend the priests who have committed atrocious crimes. I hurt for the children who were abused and their families. I pray for their abusers. Yet, even though I have strong feelings on this issue, I am not writing this in order to give a “Catholic student’s viewpoint” of a religious issue. Rather, I am writing this because I feel that the poster of a cat-calling priest embodied a misunderstanding or, even worse, a lack of empathy that I have grown to expect from my fellow MIT students. And it to needs to be brought to light.

In the sexual abuse cases that have recently surfaced, the victims are young children. Not women. Not men. But children. Sexually abused children have increased rates of eating disorders and suicides. Sexually abused children have increased rates of depression and other mental illnesses. Sexually abused children are scarred for life.

I understand that the posters were meant to ridicule the guilty Catholic priests, joking in the same manner as Monty Python’s skit where “Nobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition.” Unfortunately, in this case, mocking the Catholic Church through these posters both trivializes the atrocious crimes committed towards children and desensitizes the community as a whole towards these acts. I implore the people who put up these posters to really think about their impact before stapling any more to the campus bulletin boards.



Ethel Machi ’02