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?
Pedophile priests do not belong in jail. They belong in a psychiatric facility permanently. Those who denied them that need and showed complete lack of concern for their victims are the ones who belong in jail.
The prists and victims should be studied by modern MRI, PET and DNA analysis. Try to look up research on pediphilia. You won't find much!
C Berry, Oroville
ZERO TOLERANCE - Any clergy who are guilty of even one act, should be defrocked. This should be made clear to all current clergy and to all prospective ones. Perhaps requiring all clergy to make a public vow against such behavior would help. If this results in a lesser number of priests(and it probably will) then the laity will have to get involved and take on some of the responsibility of running the various Catholic institutions. Long term - maybe a study of revision in the qualifications for priesthood (ie., celibacy) in order to create a bigger pool from which to draw from.
Chet G, Trumbull, CT
First, Cardinal Law must go. Second, Bishop McCormack must go. Third, any other bishop or Archdiocesan official implicated in the cover up must go. Without these first three steps, the church in New England can never "regain the trust of the faithful." Next, rank and file priests of the Boston Archdiocese, and the Diocese of Manchester, must demonstrate courage, speak up against their bishops, and support those in the laity calling for the removal of these criminals. Next, in accordance with their duty under canon law, the laity must have courage to speak up loudly, to organize if necessary, and to assert their rightful authority to witness to the truth and for justice, even if that means condemning their bishops. Next, there should be full disclosure of all files related to abuse by priests. This should be done without court orders, and regardless of liability. A poor church may, in the long run, be a more Christian church. Next, the Cardinal and bishop ought to be replaced by leaders of spotless reputation, without the least taint of this scandal. These should be humble bishops, disinterested in the trappings of office or drunk with their own power. If that means promoting an ordinary priest or monk to these positions, then it must be so. Someone who's never been on television, or in the newspaper, would be a good start Next, there should be much more lay involvement in the administration of dioceses, including involvement of women and parents of children at the highest levels of decision making. The question of celibacy is beside the point, as even a policy of optional celibacy would never allow for the kinds of sex Paul Shanley and John Geoghan were after. If this matter is to be considered, it cannot be thoughtfully considered in the current atmosphere. The full history of homosexual influence in the seminaries, priesthood, and hierarchy must be made public. This will be painful, and controversial, but at the root of the problem there lies the secrets of how many good men were turned away from, or left, the seminaries because those places were (perhaps still are) dominated by homosexuals. The church (including the laity) should work vigorously to eliminate active/practicing homosexuals from the ranks of the priesthood. A gay priest can be a great priest. But all priests should be examples of chastity. While some heterosexual priests may also be sexually active, it is clear the immediate problem comes from the activity of homosexual priests. They must be removed from the ranks. The people of the church cannot allow or tolerate the priesthood to become a "gay" occupation. I am not opposed to gay people. I am opposed to the damage to the church that has been and will be done by active homosexuals in the priesthood. People of the church, priests and laity alike, should pray the Rosary, go to confession, return to the central doctrines of the church, learn their catechism, practice the traditional faith with a renewed zeal, and trust that God will bring something good from this horrible disgraceful scandal.
James, New Hampshire
they need to prevent this from happening again. they need to sit down and ask, why did this happen? i feel badly for the priests that did nothing wrong and are being blamed for a few bad people. i also feel badly for gay people that are being blamed for this problem. whatever it takes, marriage, woman clergy,or gay members.a few have caused so much hurt to many.
chen, w. roxbury
Get rid of the celibacy requirement and ordain women as priests. Isn't there enough evidence to show that men are sick, twisted creatures??
Morag Heffernan, South Boston
Cardinal Law should be fired by his boss. 21 years ago, in october 1981, a BOOK WAS WRITTEN BY MALACHI MARTIN, WHICH TELLs it LIKE IT IS IN ROME. ROME LOVES WEALTH AND POWER. THEY HAVE GOTTEN AWAY WITH EVERYTHING FOR 1500 YEARS, AND THEY THOUGHT THEY COULD GET AWAY WITH IT FOREVER. THIS BOOK IS PUBLISHED BY BANTAM BOOKS, AND IS RIGHTLY CALLED: "THE DECLINE AND FALL OF THE ROMAN CHURCH". MARTIN is a scholar and spent 40 years working in the VATICAN LIBRaRY. Instead of going to church, I now just read the Gospel. I raised 4 sons, thank God I am..... A VERY HAPPY EX-CATHOLIC Giovanni Ciccone, Leominster
giovanni ciccone, leominster
First the church itself needs to acknowledge the wrongdoings of the heirarchy that enabled so many priests to continue assaulting children. To date the church spin doctors including the pope continue to focus only on the criminal priests who molested children while saying nothing of the apparent culture that allowed such behavior to occure. To the rank and file catholics that are still left after all the smoke clears I can only say....Good Luck! and watch out for your children carefully, talk to them and teach them about such predators. Only time and especially change may allow the church to regain the trust of the faithful. For me there is no turning back, I've had enough guilt and shame to last two lifetimes. I'm outta there!
Refugee Catholic, West Newbury
I strongly believe priests should be able to get married. They do in the Orthodox churches (Greek, Armenian, Russian). The historic reasons (retaining church property) for celibacy no longer apply, and the damage created by enforced celibacy has become too great.
Sack Cloth and Ashes come to my mind... at least that would be a beginning. I listened to my local bishop claim that there is no crisis in the church except that which has been created by the media. As a mother, that has made me sick. The hierarchy has got to stop whining "poor us" and admit it has betrayed the flock it was supposed to shepherd and the God it was supposed to serve. Cardinal Law and many others should resign.
Susan H, Connecticut