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?
Cardinal Law is and always has been a political figure, not a spiritual one. The only time you ever saw him before this scandal broke was when he was on the phone to the governor before an important vote on abortion or the death penalty or when he was rushing to Hyannis to preside over another Kennedy funeral so he could get some face time on the 6 o'clock news(Don't they have any priests on the Cape?). Now all of a sudden he's the one to lead us out of a mess that he was instrumental in creating. If he hadn't been so politically motivated in the first place, maybe he would've done the right thing from the start. As it was, he was more concerned with forwarding his agenda within the church hierarchy than he was with protecting his flock. God forgives all sinners, but a lot of them still have to pay their debt to society at large. How is this situation any different?
· He deliberately placed children at the hands of criminals. No concern for human life and the psychological damage he has inflicted upon these families. · His actions are examples of the views of many other higher-level church officials who have ignored these problems for years. These individuals use the church as a haven for their criminal acts and to prey upon young children. The church needs to be cleaned out! · No donations should be made to the Catholic Church until Cardinal Law resigns. We have stopped giving and will continue not to give until action is taken against Cardinal Law. · Priests should be allowed to marry. However, a system needs to be put in place that the individual who is serving GOD is indeed in possession of exemplary behavior. The parishioners need some assurance that this priest is not a wife beater, a pedophile, etc. So, the question becomes, “How do we put into place the checks & balances to assure parishioners that these individuals who serve God are normal?” · A separate governing committee needs to be formed (regionally segmented in the United States) and that is comprised of people not lay people in the community who determine whether an individual is priest material – very simple. · Criminal background checks need to be done on anyone who deals with children. · Unfortunately, this nightmare is a wake-up call for the Catholic Church. · Women need to be accepted into primary church roles. Until this happens, the Catholic Church will be unable to move beyond this time warp that it has firmly implanted itself for years.
Diana Bolick, Natick, MA
Take back your church. Demand that cardinal Law reign immediately. He is a disgrace and an affront to God.
Paul Marshall, Boston
I think the catholic church should prosecute, to the full extent of the law, the priests who were in an authoritative postion and who knew about the illegal and abusive practices of priests under their supervision. It is the only way they can demonstrate their commitment to protecting the public. These men are responsible for horrible illegal acts. The priests who knew about these things and did not take legal steps to stop them are themselves as responsible as the priests commiting the acts against the minors.
dl morison, medford
It seems to me that church officials have dug their own grave. Will they be able to regain the trust of their parishioners? I doubt it. As for what Catholics themselves can do, keep after these egotistical XXX and let them know they will not get away with the torture of all of these innocent victims. For decades the hierarchy and the priests themselves have felt that they were above the law, well now they are finding out. They are all men just like the rest of us and wearing a collar or a "pointy" hat does not make them special. They are so full of themselves it makes me sick. Law is the biggest creep of them all and needs to be thrown out of the church altogether. He also needs to be brought up on charges of aiding and abetting in all of these cases. The absolute gall of him and his predecessors, sending priests from parish to parish knowing that they are pedophiles is unconscionable. I hope everyone involved is brought to trial/justice. I also hope that the parishoners will stop giving money to the church to pay these despicable individuals. Last week I attended a First Communion for my great-nephew and it was very difficult for me to put money in the offering basket and I wanted to ask the collectors if this money was going to the pedophile fund. Melodie, North Easton
Mrs. Melodie Stanton, North Easton
To regain the trust of the rank-and-file catholics like myself, Cardinal Law needs to resign and the Attorney General needs to prosecute any and all people involved, including the Cardinal. I don't care if they are priests, bishops or cardinals. They committed horrible crimes on innocent children. At the same time it is important to support the priests that have done nothing wrong, but are tainted by these disgusting human beings.
While the "news" about Catholic priests and the abuse of young boys is recent, the hushed whispers, repeated transfers of clerics, and in-poor-taste jokes about the matter have been on-going for years. What church officials or those who follow the Catholic church can do at this point to restore faith is a tough, and perhaps impossible question. For those who spent their lives holding their faith deeply and truly, the abuse situation and it's magnitude must be incredibly painful. "Church officials", or at least some of them, have apparently been in the know about this matter for deacdes, and either turned a blind eye or actively assisted priest-predators with relocation. I would never presume to know the mind of God, but I would say that the Lord's working "in mysterious ways" doesn't hold a candle to the mysterious ways and mindset of the clergy who helped other priests with their pursuit of "man-boy love." Religious faith and belief are deeply personal and often unshakeable components of one's journey through life, a conviction from which all else emanates. To knowingly participate in conduct that robs people of their deepest beliefs, especially when the perpetrators are a tangible part of those beliefs, is an unbelieveably unconscionable act. My heart truly goes out to the millions of faithful Catholics.
Ruth Bacon, Pownal, Vt.
I grieve for the families and the young people who suffer from these despicable acts. As for the priests, this is a kind of comeuppance. What should be a life of pious duty seems to be a smug boys club which, like any fraternity, tries to cover-up its own shortcomings. Under the guise of "doing God's work," they have snowed their own constituency for long enough. Now it's time to get it out in the open, and Cardinal Law would do well to read his PR history: Look at the Tylenol scare from some years back. Admit there's a problem, cooperate with the police and clean house. Lastly, can anyone think of a more heinous crime than child abuse done under the cover of ministry? Can anyone explain why the Church's powerful leaders have not used excommunication to punish the likes of Geoghan and Shanley? And where is the Holy See in all of this? This must be one of the biggest crises in Catholic history, but the Holy Father has been all but silent. While the documents released were terribly damaging to Cardinal Law's credibility, did anyone else get angry over Cardinal Medieros's discriminatory and misguided effort to keep homosexuals out of the priesthood? That does not even start to address the Church's ongoing effort to equate pedophilia with homosexuality is like saying that all heterosexual men are attracted to little girls. The door to the vault is open, now shine in the light of truth. Good Catholics of Boston, demand that your Church do justice for the victims, the only Christ-like thing Law and the Archdiocese can do.
I am overwhelmed with disgust at Cardinal Bernard Law's arrogance and ignorance in these matters. These latest documents portray a man who wilfully and knowingly knew who these sick people were and what they were doing to our children. The belief that these church leaders have that they are above or outside the realm of the law is virtually criminal in itself. This is not leadership, it is cowardice and neglect in its purest form.
He is not above the law. If he was a commoner he would be jailed. He belongs in JAIL. He is as sick as all he protects. Its always different when its political. What gives him the right, this is a public [world] matter now. I can`t believe people are afraid to step on toes. the whole situation makes mewant to puke!! Get rid of ALL offenders!!!! Let priest get married!! Get rid of sellibit joke!!! Bring back God! Get rid of politic`s
Steve Celli, Pembroke Mass.