To the Editor – A Yakima native offers two options. He wants the grave of an accused predatory priest moved. Or he wants the cemetery to include an admission that multiple reports of abuse against the priest have been substantiated.
Michael Ross says the cleric, Msgr. Joseph Sondergeld, sexually violated him as a child. (And the websites of two local church jurisdictions list Sondergeld as “credibly accused.”)
As a former national director of SNAP, I applaud Ross’ courage. And I deplore the dishonest response of a senior Yakima Catholic official to Ross’s simple request.
Dodging Ross’ proposal, Msgr. Robert Siler does what leading Catholic figures have done for decades and, tragically, continue to do today: parsing words, splitting hairs, evading responsibility and refusing to help deeply hurt victims heal. horrible childhood traumas, traumas that could have been avoided if only the bishops had acted as caring shepherds rather than cold-hearted CEOs.
However it turns out, two things are clear. Michael Ross seeks a tiny modicum of justice and closure for himself and others who were hurt long ago and are still hurting today. And Msgr. Siler, his boss, Bishop Joseph Tyson, and their office mates are being callous and selfish in refusing to take this small step toward healing.
DAVID G. CLOHESSY