From the Dallas Morning News --
For 14 years, bishops of the Catholic Diocese of Amarillo hid the truth about the men known internally as "the program priests."
Congregations scattered across 26,000 square miles of the Texas Panhandle were never told that at least eight of their pastors had spent time in church-run treatment centers after being accused of molesting children.
As Bishop John Yanta scrambled to meet the basic needs of the diocese, he and his predecessor, Bishop Leroy Mathiesen, found themselves being asked to explain decisions that they had kept buried for years.
Bishop Yanta acknowledged that people's faith in the church has been shaken. But he predicted that any bitterness would not linger.
Bishop Yanta, 70, offered no apologies for his secretiveness, saying that he believed it was in line with dicates of church law that require bishops to protect the reputations of priests as well as ensuring due process.
"The communication of the truth is not a universal right," he said.
What about the congregation's right to protect its children? Is it reasonable for a parent to expect that a church or school will attempt to protect his/her children from potential child molesters?
Here's the lesson: Beware of any organization or group in which the leaders do not communicate to the members, because they claim to know better. Or claim to be above reproach because of a special relationship with God. The clear message is that if you choose to be catholic, you better check your brain at the door. The leaders will tell you what you need to know and what you need to believe. And they are not to be challenged.
Religion doesn't have to be this way. Beware of any religion in which the pastors or leaders claim to be somehow "above" the members, or have some special relationship with God.