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MESSAGE BOARD / Dec. 5, 2002

In recent weeks, a contrite Cardinal Bernard Law has made emotional apologies for his handling of abusive priests and met with members of a lay Catholic group he had previously shunned. But archdiocesan personnel files released this week have exposed glaring new instances of church negligence and provided more evidence that Law knew of abuse allegations against priests who were allowed to remain on active church duty for years. Facing an estimated 450 abuse claims, the archdiocese may declare bankruptcy. In light of this week's revelations, what are your feelings on the church crisis? Has Law lost the moral authority to lead the archdiocese? Where must Boston Catholics look for leadership? And what should be done to address the church's financial crisis?

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How much longer will The Boston Globe continue to beat a dead horse? Readers have already told you their feelings on the church crisis. They are outspoken when it comes Cardinal Lawís moral deficiencies and his lack of ability to lead the archdiocese. It is imperative that Catholics everywhere look within themselves, step up and repair the damage that has been done. Tell me, will the seemingly anti-Catholic Globe cover that story? As a journalist, I, too, recognize that the church crisis is indeed newsworthy, and the Globe has done a fine job at ferreting out the cancerous, resident evil within the archdiocese. But itís a crying shame the paper, or any other paper for that matter, has not put equal efforts into getting answers as to exactly what is happening in the War on Terrorism. Why havenít we caught Osama bin Laden and quashed his al-Qaida network? Why do we accept lame excuses from the present administration? Why is Saddam Hussein still an issue? What are our troops dying for? And why is the world continually under threat? The fact that these unanswered questions remain is the utmost disrespect to our journalistic brothers and sisters, who risked or gave their lives to uncover, write and report the ever so powerful truth.

Mark , Nashua, NH


I was raised in a classic irish catholic family, attended catholic school and the endless rituals of the faith. I remember the strap the elementary principal weilded, rough on one side, smooth on the other (adjustable for the severity of a little boy's offense). Applied over the back of a hand it stung either way. I remember that I was miserable because I was taught that my father would go to Hell because he had failed in a marriage and subsequently married my mother in a ceremony outside of the "church". She was not catholic but promised to raise her children to be. Eventually it occured to me that I was illegitimate. My father was faithful even though damned. WE went to mass every sunday (he allways went on thursdays too).WE didn't eat meat on fri. We fasted after midnight on sat. nights so we could receive on sun (of course no communion was possible for Dad, he was excommunicated).That meant no Easter candy until after church! What a remarkable differance 40 years has made. I haven't heard a word about excommunicating priests for illicit sex with adults, children, each other. Complicity in hiding deviant behavior is unwritten policy.Shepards, not sheep need special consideration and protection, after all they have "vocations".God picked these guys. They'll tell you so, and nuns back them up on that score. My father messed up! He should have been a priest. He would have gotten to drive a black Buick or Oldsmobile and play golf twice a week too. He would have gotten to have as much sex as he could handle and the penalty would have been the inconvienience of moving to different churches frequently. What a sucker!!

Jim , Monterey, Ma.


The cardinal should step down before he is indicted for aiding and abetting criminal behavior. Elected and corporate leaders should, and hopefully are already, be putting pressure on him to resign.

peter , hyde park


I have yet to hear anyone else address a fact which I have thought really hits the nail on the head. I think the Roman Catholic Church needs to take a look at the "abstinence" issue with priests. If Catholic priests were allowed to marry, and have sexual relationships, do you think any of the molestation against altar boys would have occured? Protestant and Jewish leaders are allowed to marry...the Catholic Church needs to reevaluate this policy. Aside from that, Cardinal Law should not only resign, he should be locked in prison, hopefully to face the wrath of the inmates.

karen, waltham


IT IS JUST SO UNFAIR TO ALL THE WONDERFUL PEOPLE WHO HAVE GIVING DONATIONS TO THE CHURCH TO HELP MAINTAIN THE CHURCHES AND THE MANY TEACHING PROGRAMS OFFERED TO THE CHILDREN. THESE MONIES ARE NOW BEING SPENT ON ... SHOULD THE CHURCH OFFICIALS EVEN HAVE THE RIGHT TO SPENT THAT MONEY FOR LEGAL FEES ETC WHEN IT WAS DONATED FOR OTHER REASONS.ISN'T THAT YET ANOTHER "SIN". AND ONCE AGAIN THE CHILDREN SUFFER!!!

H TIRRELL, BOSTON


It's all about the money. Period.

R, Everett


I think Cardinal Law has done an outstanding job for this archdiocese. It is the Catholic Bashing Media that continues to muckrake the Catholic Church. The News Media must be cowards in that we have never seen any stories on their front pages dealing with any other religion but the Catholic Church. Interesting eh?

Gerard , Methuen


My view? My view is that like Monica and Bill Clinton, this Catholic church scandal, relentless as it is, is becoming too much. The world must laugh at us in all our pathetic existence. I think Law should be deposed, the Catholic bank account drained and rightly given to the victims, and I think the Boston Catholic Diocese should close their doors for a while and re-evaluate the situation. One big mistake the Catholic heirarchy is making is assuming that gays play a big part in the scandal. It's about POWER, not sex, just they use the means of sex/molestation to manifest the underlying and insidious disease so many priests have. I say bring down the Boston Catholic church and all it's ugly men. How much more can be unearthed? Too much more for my tired eyes!

Peter, Jamaica Plain


Law must resign. I think by keeping the pressure and attention on this issue, he will eventually be forced to do so. Also, why isn't Law being charged as an accomplice for his cover-up of what went on? Will the Boston Globe please explain why Law hasn't been charged (yet)?

Emily, Cambridge


To take the bankruptcy cop-out is so wrong. I'm not Roman Catholic, but for me the only proper course of action would be to sell the property in Chestnut Hill, take some of the proceeds of that and set up headquarters in the Cathedral area of the South End (if indeed any of that is still affordable.) Then take the rest and go back to the bargaining table to make settlements. I'm really afraid that Cardinal Law is not in touch with the reality of what's going on here. It's too bad, because on other moral issues (racial equality, housing et al)which are so often neglected as moral issues, he has been a leader over his career. But all of this has so overshadowed whatever else he's done, and his handling of the whole thing has been so awful, that I think he has lost his ability to lead. I wonder if Bishop D'Arcy would be willing to come back. He's one of the few bright lights in the whole hierarchical firmament.

Hannah D, Salem MA


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