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?
First of all every practicing Roman Catholic should focus on the teachings of Jesus Christ first. Not Cardinal Law as Law is NOT OUR LORD. The answer to this lingering question: Should Cardinal Law resign or not? The answer is a resounding YES!!! He is and was not in the past Christlike and should no longer be our Shepherd. Law has disgraced himself and the Church long enough. If he (Law) would prefer the Church (the people) to vote him out - then every parish should take a vote this Sunday and end his incompetant and disgraceful way he handled himself and his position. Diana M. Samowski
Diana Samowski, Whitman, MA
Unfortunately, the church's long-standing policy of ignoring problems does not surprise me. It has been going on for a long time. Pedophile priests are only one aspect of this tendency to ignore problems. Priests and bishops do not like uncomfortable or unpleasant situations and don't know how to handle them when they arise. Seminaries do not teach students how to make decisions or how to handle personnel. They teach seminarians how to teach. They give seminarians the mindset that they above all other people have access to truth and wisdom. Even many seminarians look down on lay people as ignorant and sinful souls who need to be shown the way by priests. No the problem does not surprise me at all. It's only the tip of the iceberg.
Rick, Augusta, GA
The Church will survive. The perverts and their enablers will be rooted out. They should be banished and the Cardinals and Bishops who enabled them should resign!
G DEVENEY, Hoboken NJ
I still can't believe this situation. In the state of Missouri, all people wo work with children (teachers, counselors, social workers, Scout leaders, etc) are not asked to report child abuse - they are required to do so. If one even has a feeling that abuse might have or is still occurring, that person must report it. We don't investigate the abuse, nor do we judge or sweep it under the rug. The investigation is left to trained, professional investigators, not men hiding behind their vestments. At minimum, Mr. Law (I refuse to grace him with his title of Cardinal) is at minimum an "accessory after the fact" and possibly an accessory both during and/or before some of these criminal acts. Should Mr. Law resign? NO! He should be fired by the Catholic Church, then criminally prosecuted by the State of Massachusetts.
Rev. John Cunningham, Kansas City, Missouri
The Catholic church needs major reforms. The church neeeds to allow married men and women to be priests. Celibacy should be optional. The overwhelming majority of gay priests are dedicated, moral men, and their sexual orientation is not the problem. There are clergy who have been involved with women too. Also, the problem is not limited to the U. S. but exists in Europe as well. In addition, the church must allow lay people to have a major imput into the running of the church. The Vatican's response to date has been minimal and has shown a lack of insight into the thinking of most Catholics. It's the 21st century -- not the 18th. As for Cardinal Law, he should resign.
It is amazing how Cardinal Law has been such an ardent defender of the unborn and life. Yet his conspiritorial behavior would put in question the sincerity of his morality. Cardinal Law should ask himself how many lives of children has he 'killed'? This prince of the Church is morally impotent. Hopefully, his love for the Church is more sincere than his love for the children. He should resign rather than let pride once again rule his decisions.
John, newark, new jersey
As a practicing Catholic, I feel, and certainly hope, there are many more good priests out there than bad. The Church needs to take a good look at the current situation and start doing complete background checks. I can't even believe it would even need to come to this. For all my years in the Catholic Church, I've always sought comfort and guidance and I'm at a point where I simply do not know where to turn or who to trust in the Church. I look at my own parish priests and wonder if it's their name I will see in the papers next. Sad as it may seem, background checks for current and future priests should become a standard practice. To point the Church in the right direction, Cardinal Law needs to be removed from his post, first and foremost. If he does not step down, the Pope needs to ask him to step down. As far as I am concerned, Cardinal Law has lost all credibility and his leadership and morals are forever damaged. Every single priest who has been convicted of these crimes need to be punished, starting with Cardinal Law who has simply moved these men from one post to another with complete disregard for human safety. What could he possibly have been thinking? The Church teaches us to be many things, above all, protective and honest. Cardinal Law has not been either, that has become clear through this entire ordeal. If the Church has any morals left at all, they will push him out and start fresh. I'm actually a lit bit afraid to sit in Church these days thinking that there will be that one person who just can no longer understand the delay in changing the leadship that allowed these wrongful acts and will want to take care of it themselves. The person has every right to be angry, but would, of course, be wrong to take a matter upon themselves, however, it's not an impossibility. What is the delay in making these simple changes to start? One only needs to have their beliefs in religion and those beliefs do not have to be practiced in the Church. I will not continue practicing or financially supporting the church until Cardinal Law steps down and new leadership and processes are put in place. This is clearly a faulty system run by leadership that is corrupt and not above the law. The deceit to good people all these years by Cardinal Law and his assignees is disgraceful and calls for immediate resignations.
Somewhere up in Heaven, Martin Luther must feel as if history is repeating itself. It appears to me that what is needed is nothing less than a second Reformation. The Roman hierarchy, a modern Sanhedrin, must be abandoned. What do you think Jesus would say to Cardinal Law, to his face? Probably something about a "brood of vipers"!
Bill, Alexandria, Va
Pedophelia is the uncontrollable compulsion -- the conspiracy to knowingly allow it to continue is the CRIME. All Catholic heirarchy who knowingly participated in this conspiracy should be defrocked -- who in God's name (or anybody's name) would be permitted to stay employed under similar conditions!! Now (since they can't hide it anymore) the Church officials are making noises about protecting the children -- isn't that a given? If they want the trust of the faithful back -- they'll have to stop being self-agrandizing, two-faced liars and start being trustworthy. This is an organization that has always demanded blind faith -- IT COULDN'T OTHERWISE TAKE THE SCRUTINY!!
Janis McDonald, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Who is the church? If the sheep of the flock had any say in what the out of touch with reality hierarcy were doing a whole lot less of this would have occurred over the years. That said it is Rome we are beholding to in a sort of phony game of guilty on the part of American catholics for not adhering to the strickt doctrine europeans have because the watchful eye of the Vat is right there. Americans feel somehow infringed on by doctrines centuries old and out of touch with reality in this man's view anyway.
johnny wisemueller, Natick