Bishops Implement Talking about Walking Call Safe-Pedestrian Programs a Priority
Many orthodox Catholic parents have expressed concern over the Bishops’ Charter adopted in Dallas in 2000. The Charter fails to address a primary cause of the sex abuse scandal, i.e., homosexual priests molesting adolescent boys. Instead, the bishops are targeting children with “safe environment” programs that violate their innocence and usurp the rights of parents. The tongue-in-cheek article below came to us without attribution. Please pray for bishops, especially Bishop Loverde. Editor
Press Conference – Washington, D.C. – January 31, 2004
Statement by Bishop Wilton D. Gregory, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)
Thank you all for coming. When the bishops of the Roman Catholic Church first encountered vehicular homicide by our clergy, we saw it as a locomotor failing to be addressed by practice. Later, we viewed these tendencies as substance abuse, which doctors suggested could be controlled, if not cured. Most of today’s specialists believe otherwise. The law rightly makes it clear that leaving the scene of a collision involving a fatal injury is a crime. We have all been enlightened. We continue to learn from our experiences and, hopefully, even more from our mistakes.
Today, heightened seminary-screening processes attempt to identify and weed out unpromising motorists. Workshops are designed to help people define and understand thoroughfares, with the assurance that the law will address those unable to abide by them. We have urged our dioceses to form review boards of laity and professionals to assist in evaluating moving violations as soon as the citations are received and to review fitness for service.
Last year the Catholic Church provided social services to 11 million people and health care to more than 77 million patients – fewer than 4 percent of whom were run down by senior ecclesiastics with a pint of Johnny Walker on their laps. We apologize and regret the pain of all those who have been affected by this horror more than these words can convey. Thank you.
Jerry Filteau, CNS: Bishop Gregory, is it true that it was not Johnny Walker but Paul Marcoux that was on Bishop O’Brien’s lap?
Gregory: Since Bishop O’Brien’s arraignment has taken place, it would be inappropriate for me to comment on any aspects of his case. Besides, many of the so-called victims are not as innocent as they appear. They can be quite “street-wise.” [laughter]
Larry Stammer, LAT: Bishop Gregory, what steps are the bishops taking to ensure that such tragedies do not happen again?
Gregory: We have implemented a nationwide education program mandatory for all pedestrians called Talking about Walking. In it we help parents, civil authorities, and educators confront their fears about discussing massive intracranial trauma and develop strategies for pedestrian safety, such as wearing fluorescent orange vests when out of doors and remaining seventy-five feet back from any public thoroughfare, “walking the extra mile” to the nearest pedestrian underpass, etc.
Stammer: Can you give us an example of how the program works?
Gregory: Let me read you a vignette from one of the role-playing modules. “Brian is a 32-year-old Capricorn with a friendly smile and no dependents. He wanted to walk to the Seven-Eleven to buy a quart of Diet Coke and a newspaper. Then he remembered that Archbishop Artie’s 400-series BMW has a 144-foot braking zone at 55 mph. So he changed into a Day-Glo yellow Spandex shirt and leggings, donned elbow and knee pads, borrowed a high-impact motorcycle helmet from his friend Keith, strapped cyclist’s flashing-light bracelets to his wrists and ankles – then stayed put in his living room and phoned in a strong, clear voice to have a pizza delivered to his home instead. Brian sang the TAW theme-song: “Better to eat a pizza that’s cold, than to become one on the road.” As you see, our motto is Putting Pedestrians Primo.
Francis Clines, NYT: Bishop Gregory, in general, does the Catholic Church have a dogma or anything about fleeing the scene of a fatal accident?
Gregory: We’re on a learning curve here. The Church – excuse me, I meant the church – is no different from other institutions in this respect. Until recently we simply didn’t have the technical knowledge to be certain that, say a paperboy squashed flat by a monsignor’s Oldsmobile might not turn out to be a squirrel or a possum transformed into human shape by a spell cast by an evil magician. Fleeing seemed the normal thing to do. Now we know better. But it’s a mistake to judge what happened in the past by what we’ve learned from cutting-edge scientific findings.
Michael Paulson, Boston Globe: Bishop Gregory, if it transpires that Bishop O’Brien is duly convicted of criminal negligence, manslaughter, failure to inform law enforcement authorities, and leaving the scene of an accident, what do you think would be the appropriate sentence on the part of the court?