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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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IF THE CARDINAL WOULD HAVE JUST ADMITTED THAT HE KNEW OF THE ABUSE AND DID NOTHING ABOUT IT, MAYBE THAT WOULD HAVE SET BETTER IN PEOPLES MINDS, INSTEAD HE REFUSED TO BELIVE WHAT PEOPLE WERE TELLING HIM AND TURNED HIS BACK ON HIS FLOCK. I HAVE SINCE LEFT THE CATHLOC CHURCH AND PERSUED OTHER RELIGIOUS VENUES. I HAVE TRULY LOST FAITH IN THE CATHLOC WAY OF DEALING WITH ISSUES. I HAVE NOT LOST FAITH IN GOD THOUGH;.

DENNIS, HOPEDALE


Cardinal Law is morally bankrupt and has been for years. Preying on the innocence of children and women alike. I will not set foot in another Catholic church, but if I did and the Offering basket came to me, I would rather relieve myself in it then offer them one penny. I feel the Vatican is a disgrace for their inaction as well.

Scott, Boston


As a non-Catholic I have always looked up to the Church as one of the last bastions of ethical behavior. How terribly sad for all of the Catholics out there who had believed in their leadership. Cardinal Law not only needs to be removed from his post but he needs to go to jail. Where is our government when we actually need protection?

H


Although Cardinal Law has apologized, it is definitely too late for him to heal the wounds he has caused by his blatant refusal to acknowledge and deal with the abuses. As a Christian, my faith in God has not been deterred, however, I no longer have any trust in Cardinal Law's words; his actions have spoken louder. His resignation would be the first stepping stone in the healing process. With regard to the financial crisis, the extensive properties held by the diocese should be sold; filing of bankruptcy should not be an option.

Judith, Humarock, MA


A priest has sex with girls and says they are "wonderful"? He justifies this by saying he was trying to bring them closer to Christ? Didn't David Koresh do the same thing in Waco? Where is our church going?

Dan P., Marshfield


There will be no healing within the church until the man at the head of the archdiocese steps down. There is no possible way that he can be trusted...his word means nothing, that is clear. He has repeatedly lied, deceived, manipulated, covered-up, the list goes on. How can he possibly think that ANYONE respects him, he is a complete and total embarassment and his arrogance in thinking he should stay is appalling! I have a couple of questions for him that I would love to have answered: 1. Now that we know you did have ALL the information on these priests (far worse than we could have imagined), please tell me what heinous crimes DO justify being removed from ministry? Did you really think you were doing the RIGHT thing...and if so, who were you doing right by? 2. Please tell me why you (Cardinal Law) and these predators, should NOT go to jail? The only thing protecting you is the collar...and you are a disgrace to that collar. If this were a lay person doing these things your reaction would be far different. It is so much worse that those doing it did so from the protection they knew they would get from you. That is betrayal of the worst kind. 3.You think gays should not be priests? But, you apparently think it is okay for pedophiles, violent abusers, drug addicts, sexual predators, and those with no moral ethic are just fine?! How can you possibly think this makes sense? The fact that you would have the gall to suggest that gays should not be priests without saying all of those that have repeatedly offended should not be as well is so blinding clear why you should step down! Everything we have been taught about right and wrong, sins and penance is a farce coming from you...we are being preached to by some of the worst social miscreants. WE know what is right and wrong and what you are doing and have done is wrong and the only way to start making it right is for you to step down. Do what is right for the church and please go!

Cathy, Belmont


I have gone to Catholic school since 1st grade, and it is really sad to say, I am embarrassed of my religion. For any grown adult to look the other way from kids being assaulted should get the chair! Cardinal Law has to go! He is an insult to our faith and pride.

Eric, Boston, Ma


Over the past several years, my faith in the Catholic church has slowly been eroded away by the politics involved in "governing" the religion, but my faith in the beliefs and teachings of the religion still remained strong. When this scandal first became public, I was nauseated - with the recent days' disclosures I am completely outraged! My faith in the religion itself is being seriosuly tested now! How could "Bernie" have allowed this to happen? Finding out the depth of his knowledge & realizing he had been condoning it all along by refusing to take any action to punish the offenders & remove them from their duties so the abuse could NOT continue is beyond comprehension. Makes one wonder how sincere "Bernie's" apologies have been to the countless victims created out of his inactions. Forgive and eventually forget? Highly doubtful, Mr. Bernard Above-the-Law!

h-m, south shore


Given the course of the investigation of this whole case, what has become quite clear is the Boston Archdiocese and these supposed 'Men of God' are more interested in preserving the INSTITUTION OF THE CHURCH rather than doing what is morally and ethically right. What they fail to realize is that if they do simply what is right and just, rather than worrying about the financial impact on the Archdiocese, the church will ultimately be MUCH more wealthy than if they try to wiggle out of taking the responsibility and making amends for the priests who, acting as agents of the Archdiocese, harmed so many innocent young people. Conversely, if the Archdiocese succeeds in filing bankruptcy and limiting the payments to the people harmed in this case, there will be long-term and probably irreparable damage done to the reputation of the Roman Catholic church in Boston (if that hasn't already happened), and many people would neverbe able to bring themselves to walk into a Catholic church ever again. This is a test posed by God to the church officers, to see if they have the courage to part with the disgustingly large amount of wealth accumulated in the name of Christ (who NEVER advocated that for his followers in the first place) and do the right thing. That is simply the law of God, and I'm sure Christ would want it that way.

Louis, Bellingham MA


I don't understand why these people are above The law and are protected by the Church which I may add is one of the richest organizations in the world and to think that they are able to declare bankruptcy is mind boggling. They have to be held accountable and they will have to sell some their assets to pay the people. They are all very sick people and I would not want to associate with any of them or do I trust them. I would never turn to them now in a time of need as they are very selfish people looking after their needs and not the needs of the ones that they have damaged. Irent

Irent, Boston


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