Anonymous letters to pastors, schools, priests, and diocesan officials create a real dilemma. They may contain serious charges but without the name of the complainant the processes in place to handle complaints of pastoral concerns or inappropriate behavior in a just and fair manner are difficult to implement.
As a rule, I am very circumspect about anonymous letters. I have two reasons for this:
First, anonymous letters are a poor way to attain a good end. There is no way to resolve any issue if you don’t know who has the issue. Most problems are not as simple as they seem on the surface. They are usually complex and require discussion and dialogue to identify the underlying issue and take steps to address and resolve it. One cannot dialogue with “anonymous.”
Second, anonymity can be the cloak of cowards and character assassins. One cannot know the motive behind an anonymous accusation, but the fact of anonymity makes it suspect. It is like hiring a hit man to do the job for you so that you don’t have to accept responsibility.
Make no mistake; I realize there are situations that need to be addressed and wrongs to be righted. I not only welcome but encourage those who are aware of truly serious issues of any kind to make them known. But credibility and accountability are necessary to assure justice and fairness. That cannot be established from a pen name or domain name, but instead with a correct name, address and telephone number.
What you have to say is important to me, but it is equally important to know who is saying it.
This post is also available in/Esta entrada también está disponible en: Spanish