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BY JOHN FIELDING – A ‘hate’ group, Hawaii Citizens for the Separation of Church and State, asks Bishop Larry Silva of the Roman Catholic Church 10 lopsided and loaded questions – I have written my response:

1. Will you condemn the systematic, worldwide cover up of sex crimes against children and others committed by priests and other officials of the Catholic Church?

Of course we Catholics condemn any crime, especially those committed against children no matter who perpetrated the crime. Bishop Larry has on numerous occasions expressed his condemnations of these actions.

2. Will you support calls for the indictment, arrest, and prosecution of Pope Benedict XVI?

You are requesting “indictment, arrest and even prosecution” and have come to conclusions that are not indicated by any evidence. The Pope did not allow molestation to occur and has done everything possible to see that it will never happen again. On the contrary, the Pope has been an inspiration and has addressed this issue with not only words but also action.

Understanding the difference between an accusation and an actual guilty verdict is what your question fails to identify. Anyone can accuse anybody of anything, but providing enough proof for a conviction is an entirely different matter. Many of the “accusations” have been shown to be related to hate and assumptions. How can the Bishop answer this already damning question?

3. Will the Diocese join a boycott, withholding all local funding for the Vatican, and instead donate said monies to a non-affiliated charity set up to assist victims of sex abuse by clergy (e.g. SNAP)?

I am sure the Bishop would say “No” to this, once again, unfair and loaded question. Our Church, though you may disagree, continues to be one of, if not the biggest and most generous of all Faiths. Though you may argue otherwise, have you not opened your eyes to the fact of the Churches’ Goodwill and Charity throughout the world?

As for “paying” or “donating” to charities for the victims, it has been very well publicized as to the outpouring of monies to the victims in settlements. The Church has also set up hotlines and has continued to work to heal the victims of these heinous crimes.

4. Will the Diocese agree to allow the media to review its records with respect to sex abuse cases in Hawaii?

I would never let the media do this as they, as proven time and time again, are biased at best. Do you believe and trust the media? I would defer this responsibility to Law Enforcement and let due process as the law dictates be the judge of the records.

5. Will the Diocese immediately cease and desist all lobbying efforts to deny equal marriage rights for homosexuals.

No. Our Faith believes in the Sanctity of Marriage. No matter how much we explain our beliefs, you will continue to not understand our perspective. We will leave this question up to the Legislators. As for having a voice in the process, we too are Hawaii citizens with a voice and a vote. We are our Faith…thus, we vote our Faith.

6. Will the Diocese immediately cease and desist all lobbying efforts to deny equal rights to women, children, and other minorities?

Please provide a more specific question, as your current question as written is vague. Would you agree that all children have equal rights too? What about the child in the womb? Would you fight for their rights as we do? If you haven’t attended Mass lately, as I’m sure you haven’t, you would be surprised as to our demographics, especially here in Hawaii. We are comprised of mostly minorities. Our Church firmly believes in equal rights for women, children and minorities.

7. Will the Diocese pay all fines, penalties, and back property, income, and other taxes due for St. Stephen Diocesan Center?

If the Courts of Hawaii find any wrong doing or penalties, of course the Church would make restitutions as required by law.

8. Will the Diocese pay all fines, penalties, and back property, income, and other taxes due for St. Anthony Retreat Center?

If the Courts of Hawaii find any wrong doing or penalties, of course the Church would make restitutions as required by law.

9. Will the Diocese provide free rooms and meals at St. Stephen and St. Anthony for homeless families?

We currently feed the homeless in a number of other areas identified as needy. If you feel that homeless are able to walk up the Pali or would want to walk or drive into Kalihi Valley and are in need of a meal, this would definitely be considered. However, I would think they would be best served at the numerous other areas which are more accessible which we already provide meals.

As for our Road Map for our Diocese, we, as a Church are looking at areas of opportunities to help our homeless, our youth and our elderly. Please let us know your recommendations.

10. Will the Diocese provide details concerning the amount and percentage of Catholic revenue that is used for actual social service programs, as opposed to purely sectarian religious activities? Will the Diocese file IRS form 990Ts for its unrelated business income?

As the law dictates, we currently are filing all necessary forms to the IRS. Our records are always available for audit by the IRS.

THIS IS A GUEST EDITORIAL BY HAWAII RESIDENT JOHN FIELDING.

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