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 was all for the support of Cardinal Law until the release of documents this week. I would now ask him to leave. This is not a question of faith or religion. This is about leadership and morals, I will admit the Cardinal has done a great job of getting the Cathedral back to its former glory and splendor and has paid down a lot of the debt that was left in his lap when he came here and charities benefit well. But this upsetting! I am not ashamed of what has happened... yet, Should our church leaders continue to be leaders then I will become ashamed. This is a sad time for our churches and our priests who walk the straight and narrow. I will always continue to support my church and my parish. But the respect I once had for the church leadership is gone and what Shanley did was criminal. In my opinion what two men or two women or a man and women do in the privacy of their home is there business but when children are added to that equation then that is sick and immoral. I can only hope the church leadership will do the right thing and these men that have broken the trust be jailed and if not when they leave this life and they are judged I hope the penalty fits the crime.
Kevin Mitchell, Waltham
Cardinal Law should step down or someone should fire him. He made many wrong decisions and should have spoken up and dealt with the situation. The church teaches us to be honest, care for one another and PROTECT and love. It seems Cardinal Law and many priest forgot about the lessons and could have spoken up and did something about this. These people are now scared for life and didn't deserve this burden. As a Catholic, I'm sicken about the actions that have happened over the last 20 years. We look to our teachers, priests and faith for trust and guidance. Where do we go now? I pray that God will help everyone through this and maybe it's time to rethink what the priesthood means. The world has changed, so should the church. Priests should be allow to enjoy the gift of a family or having a child if they choose. We should begin the American Catholic Church and incorporate new ideas if the Roman Catholic Church is not ready for this change. As for the officials, right now they need to be aggressive and speak out on the poor choices that have happened and what are the next steps to fix this issue. Keeping silence just lessens the trust and everyone's faith each day.
MLH, South Boston
I am quite distressed at the betrayal of trust and leadership continuously over the past 30 odd years by Cardinal Bernard Law. I believe he should have stepped down when this first started since he could not be trusted to stop it when he should have protected the children entrusted to him. I believe the church should remove the celibacy requirement and allow the priests to marry. How can they advise parishoners when they are having marital difficulties when they have "not been there" themselves? I also believe perhaps parishoners should not contribute to the basket some Sunday - anywhere in the state, to make our disappointment known. I also believe Cardinal Law should be criminally charged. He was not doing God's work when he protected the evil doers instead of the innocent children. The "church" is the people, and the leaders are bound by the same regulations as the churchgoers. The only way I beleive the church leaders can start to rebuild the trust is to remove the problem. He can not lead the church to unity when he is the cause of such terrible behavior. Law is unlawful and must be removed like the cancer he is.
All Cardinals, Bishops, and Priests who are guilty of sexual abuse, or covering it up, should be forced to resign and tried criminally. The Pope should immediately issue their resignations. Furthermore, the Catholic Church should never let a homosexual become a Priest or serve in the Church in anyway. Homesexuality should be treated as a serious sin, as it is clearly defined as such in the sacred scriptures. As a Catholic, I beleive that any guilty parties should be forgiven, as Christ implores us to do. However, these people should be defroked and made to suffer the legal consequences as criminals. If such actions are not initiated by the Pope, rank-and-file Catholics should consider a class-action suit against the Church for endorsing such crimes/sins, by knowingly covering them up.
Dan Foster, Kingsport, TN
The punishment of the accused priests is only the beginning of reformation that needs to take place in the Catholic church. Those in power, those who were given the responsibility to lead the church and its workers, and who ignored or covered up the abuse also need to be punished. What these officials did was to give refuge and means to pedophials, ignoring the danger and sin involved. Now they want to place blame on etheral things to redirect the focus. No matter what time it was, where it was, or with who it was, Cardinal Law and the others broke the law, and took the churches name down with them. And it surprises me that these men, so holy an self righteous can stand on a pulpit and say they have a personal relationship with God. The only god I see them serving is power and greed.
As a Catholic in Boston who is completley fed up with Cardinal Law, I not only call for his resignation, but he should be removed from the Church all together. When a person knows people in his command are molesting young children there should be no tolerance.
This is a disgrace to all of society. Cardinal Law and who ever else who let this go on should face criminal charges. There is no excuse to hide behind the robe. I beleieve in separation of church and state, but not for criminal activities. He should face a court of Law just like any other citizen of this country if the break the law. Let justice decide if in fact he is guilty. If so then jail time not just stepping down.
ONCE PROUD CATHOLIC, Wakefield, MA
What is the proportion of sexually predatory priests to those that are not within the Catholic Church? Are there leaders in other faiths that are pederasts? What is it about Catholicism that attracts such men?
I believe that the catholic church needs to come forward with every charge or allegation that has ever been issued and deal with it accordingly, rather than waiting for single individuals to press charges. In order for the catholic church to survive this ordeal, its beliefs and ideals must evolve with the rest of society. It is obvious that there is a huge boundary between the ideals of modern society and the ideals of the church.
Recovering Catholic, Boston
He should resign -- No reason for him to stay - He broke the law and is no different than any one else. I feel very sorry for all the GOOD priest. HFB
Herman F. Becker, Vero Beach, Florida 32963