January 25, 2004
January 4, 2004
Your thoughts on the priest sexual abuse scandal
The priest sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church has been unfolding for 3 months now, not just locally, but also nationally and overseas. We'd like to hear your thoughts on what steps the church should take to address the problem. What can rank-and-file Catholics do? How can church officials regain the trust of the faithful?
I don't believe the lay Catholic will be listened to. If they had been listened to most of these so called "priests" would have been in jail long ago. That is where they belong, in jail. I don't even want to refer to them as "priests" "ex-priests", they should be referred to as criminals, because that is what they are. I will continue to attend services, but it will be with great disgust and sadness. The Church needs to understand that we do not accept the way it has handled this problem. Cover-ups, so called misunderstandings, we thought, we think. All very poor excuses. Give me a break. People have known for years that what these criminals have done is illegal. If anyone had done what these criminals have done to my children, you can bet that criminal would be in jail. No money can ever compensate the victims of abuse. They the victims have had to pay the highest price. The abuse victims have to pay for the crime of the "father" for the rest of their lives. You have sentenced these abuse victims to a life of hell on earth. The Church is going to bury its head in the sand and hope it will all just go away. That is a sick attitude and it disgusts me and my family. All of them should resign, especially Law. Quit looking up to the clouds and start treating these victims and all of us with the dignity we deserve.
Sheryl Lu, Rapid City
The church now has the responsibility to its parishoners, first and foremost, to help them in the healing process and to assure them beyonad a shadow of doubt that this will never happen again. It is like an abuser hitting his lover and then saying "I'm sorry, I'll never do it again" - and here, this promise must be kept. The first step, would be to defrock and banish the abusers and their partners in crime, those priests who knowingly, intentionally, and recklessly allowed the abuse to continue by either turning a blind eye or actively assisting in the cover ups. Cardinal Law is one of the latter. The worst kind of offender. He personifies all that is wrong with the Catholic faith and must be removed to assure the flock that thier suffering at the hands of a few, sick men will not be tolerated. He personifies the abuse of power by the imperfect mortals running the church and hiding behind religion and the fear and subservience it instills to meet their own agendas, to keep their titles and all the glory that goes with them, even at the expense of a young childs innocence. If a child cannot trust their priest, who can they trust??? Once the church has been expunged of this unconscionable and disgusting element - the remaining clergy must sweep into the communities devestated by the abuse, and actively work to regain the trust and respect of the victims. By holding discussion groups and listening to the parishoners fears and hopes; by visiting those victimized and holding their hands while they weep. There is so much that can be done... someone just has to give us all the signal that the church is serious about making amends and regaining the communities trust - they must take that first necessary step - get rid of Mr. Law.
c bacchetti, boston, MA
I THINK THOSE FILTHY SEXUAL CRIMINALS AND THOSE WHO PROTECTED THEM SHOULD ROT THIER LIFE AWAY IN PRISON. EVEN IF YOU BELIEVE THAT THE PERPETRAITORS COULD NOT HELP THEMSELVES THOSE WHO HID THEM FROM THE POLICE COULD.
KAY HERMANSON, LEMONT, IL.
The church must clean house.Cardinals,bishops and priests who took part in the scandal must be replaced.We need more representation from lay people and younger people.The church has been out of touch for so long.Where do the believers in the faith and doubters of the church go from here/
louis j centrella, wilm.De.
The Cardinal need not resign. He has been fired by us. Please attend church this weekend and drop a pink slip in the collection basket notifying the Cardinal to leave Lake Street immediately. His employment has been terminated. It is our church and it is our rectory built by our families and it belongs to us.Catholics are not in danger of losing their faith. We have our faith and we are prepared to make our church a safe place for our children. That is our only concern.Goodbye Mr. Law.
Polly Dunn, Westwood, Ma. O2090
I received a Catholic education in Boston, having graduated from Cathedral High School in 1950 and am still a practicing Catholic. Until the church understands that it must increase its recruitment pool--to allow its priests to marry and open its doors to women, it will become a passive shell. As a woman, I am tired of being relegated to second-class status by my church. I don't know which is worse--the pedophile/homosexual priests, or the criminal cover-up? Either way, it is more than appalling.
Ruth M. Steele, New York, NY
1.Cardinal should resign immediately 2. Someone of authority in Rome should appear with the Pope (who is a saint, but ailing) and announce that the church is reviewing the celibacy policy for priests. 3. 30 days from that appearance. Rome should announce that Priests can now marry !
This scandal, if anything, shows that the Catholic Church has lost a tremendous amount of its power and influence in suppressing adverse information. The abuses have been documented, around the country, to have occurred over the last 50 years and probably longer. The Church's power and influence never allowed this to become public knowledge, therefore church officals just swept things under the carpet and moved offending priest from one parish to another until the problem surfaced again. Then the priest was moved again. The Church no longer has the power to suppress information and certainly its influence is dwindling. People talk of a married priesthood. Is this the solution to this current problem? I think not. Pedophiles/sex abusers exist in other religions that already allow their clerics to marry. Is this a gay issue? I doubt it. What needs to be realized is that pedophiles and sex abusers have a sickness, and this sickness needs to be treated and the individuals, who need to be treated should be detained in treatment for as long as needed, until they no longer pose a danger. Church hierarchy needs to be held accountable for the abuses they have perpetrated by they're laxity in dealing with the problem. Is prosecution too much? I don't it is. They, as far as I can tell, are co-conspirators for knowing of the problem and doing, in effect, nothing but cover it up.
Tom Gio, Phila. Pa
Law should face criminal action without the typical kid-glove treatment our old-boy-networked justice system usually meets out to the priviledged and powerful. If convicted he can then choose to resign or carry out his duties from his jail cell. As for the Church as an institution; could Law's behavior been anything other than what it is? Given this institution's history of governing itself with the ethics of a police state and the democratic transparency now demanded of every other American public institution, his predicament appears inescapable.
E. S. Beckman, Putnam, CT
I am originally from Everett, Massachusetts, but currently reside in Santa Monica, CA. Of course I am outraged by the behavior of the Cathoic church, but if you asked me if I am surprised, I'd say no. Although I was raised to be a "good Catholic", I always questioned my religion. I always believed in a higher power but not necessarily with organized religion - especailly Catholisism which has always been so out of touch with it's congregation. A religion where it's leaders do not take the the time to actually help parishioners with their doubts, problems and questions but rather put them to the side with a Hail Mary or an Our Father and don't forget to leave your contribution in the basket on Sunday so you can be saved. I mean how can a man whose never been married or have children possibly explain how I could be having problems in my home? I believe a lot of people feel this way, but when you're raised Catholic there's this feeling that even if you disagree you can't be any thing other than Catholic. It's a strange pull - the old "Catholic guilt" However, being a Catholic does not mean we need turn a blind eye to what's going on. As a matter of fact, it's more our role to get back some dignity for our faith and clean up this mess. I'm astonished that police officials haven't already slapped handcuffs on Bernard Law. I refuse to call him Cardinal - he doesn't deserve this title. If he didn't hold the title or wear the robe -if he were a "regular person", he would have been arrested long ago. But what is being overlooked is that he is a "regular person" who should be treated like any other accomplice to a crime. This is a crimminal issue but it's being treated differently because they are men of cloth. The religious element of this crime should be tossed aside. If I committed these crimes I would have been in jail already. Maybe it's because we've given these priests too much authority and the feeling that they are "untouchable" that has resulted in all these years of the mistreatment of these poor children. Sure, "why not do anything I want - I'm a man of cloth - perfect, infallable, protected by God - even better - protected by the people, the police, the state." We are all to blame for this attitude. And if we let this drag out without swift punishment for these crimes, shame on us and then there will be severe "Cathoilic guilt" to deal with for all of us..
sheila, santa monica