Catholics React To Bishop Rodi's "Zero Tolerance" for Child Abuse

Some coast Catholics are applauding the Diocese Of Biloxi for taking a tough stand against child abuse. In a press conference last week, Bishop Rodi announced he would not tolerate church staff abusing children. Recent cases of priests molesting children in other parts of the country have made national headlines.

Virginia Viator is a coast Catholic. She says Bishop Rodi's "Zero Tolerance" approach to child abuse within the church is good for the Diocese. She likes the fact that the new policy gives the church community a voice.

"He has appointed committees of not just the priests themselves, but local people that are in the church to conduct investigations and make sure it doesn't happen," said Viator.

Some Catholic parishioners say they hope the times of sweeping allegations of child abuse under the rug are over.

Elizabeth Gollot Skermetta said, "We don't need to hide things. We need to have them in the open and I think he's doing a marvelous job and I feel very comfortable with it."

"I think it's something that needs to be addressed. No doubt," said Stan Dellenger. "I think in the long run his meeting will help set the standards with a good foundation that we need."

Although they believe in the new policy, some parishioners don't expect it will stamp out the problem of pedophilia completely.

Bob Kridle said, "This child abuse thing is all over and every profession has to have a few bad apples in it. So the church is no exception."

A Hartford newspaper reports that the Cardinal of New York allowed several Connecticut priests accused of sexual abuse to continue their duties. Documents indicate that the cardinal didn't refer complaints to authorities even after a dozen people accused the same priest of rape, molestation and beatings.