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Cheryl Buchanan
Cheryl Buchanan
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"Absolutely No Other Problems" in Mark Foley's Case

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The Catholic Church’s response to former Congressman Mark Foley’s allegations of sexual molestation by a Florida priest has captured lots of headlines. But is anyone really paying attention to the depth of the emptiness behind this “Zero Tolerance Policy” in action? As reported by the New York Times, on October 21st, Father Anthony Mercieca has acknowledged being naked with teenage Mark in the hototub, spending time with him naked alone together on overnight trips and massaging him and, oh yeah, not being quite sure what might have happened on at least one occasion when he was under the influence of drugs. Apparently, as usual, the Church claims to have had no idea that any of it occurred…
So, what on earth is Miami Archdiocese spokesperson Mary Ross Agosta talking about when she confidently announces at the inception of a so caled internal investigation that “there were absolutely no other problems.” Huh? I thought the Church had no idea what Father Mercieca had done. In fact, it sounds as if even Father Mercieca isn’t quite sure the extent of the abuse he committed. So, in other words Ms. Ross is not actually stating that there was no other abuse. What she is saying, truthfully or not, is that there have been no other reports. Does anyone else find it a bit conspicuous that the Church still considers the reports, rather than the abuse to be the “problems”?

“So far, she said, no one else had reported sexual misconduct by Father Mercieca. He worked in at least eight parishes in South Florida since 1966, most recently at Blessed Trinity Catholic Church in Miami Springs from 1993 to 2003. Ms. Agosta said he left Florida to retire.” -New York Times, October 21, 2006