Religion: What To Do When Priests Stray

How the Catholic Church deals with sexual misconduct when more and more priests are breaking their vow of celibacy

The tales would rattle even the sturdiest confessional. First came the story of seven Roman Catholic priests who were charged in the mid-'80s with sexually abusing young boys in Louisiana. Then there was this year's scandal at New York City's Covenant House, culminating in a commissioned report stating that Father Bruce Ritter, founder of the renowned shelter for runaways, had a pattern of improper sexual conduct with youths going back to 1970. Last month came the news that Atlanta's Archbishop Eugene Marino and one of his priests had resigned because both men had been intimate with the same 27-year-old female parishioner.

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