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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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Clearly, Bernard Law is a liar and should be removed from his position.

Jane, Bourne


Apologies and forgiveness are lovely, but they have nothing to do with justice, an entirely separate matter. There are legal issues here, and Law is not above the law; he needs to face criminal charges. There is no "moral authority" in the Catholic Church because too many men at the top covered up too many horrors for too many decades. Thank God for the Boston Globe, for finally letting us know the truth. It deserves the Pulitzer. And thank God for Justice Sweeney, who remains steadfast and true to her Catholic upbringing.

12 Years of Catholic School, Boston


The hierarchy that has concealed and protected criminals within its fold to the detriment of the most vulnerable in its flock IS the Catholic Church. I see Law as typical of Roman Catholic clergy with his bloated sense of power and greatness, always above the law, always secretive and protecting himself and other priests. He is the Catholic Church. The Pope, as well, is obviously more concerned with protecting his position and the monies he hoards than little children. Nothing could be further away from the teachings and legacy of Christ than the policies and attitudes of the Catholic Church today. It is time to tear it down. We have seen the “man behind the curtain” and the sham has been revealed. I question those in groups who are looking to “keep the faith” and change the church from within. Although I admire the desire to do so I believe that it is impossible. The church is not representative of anything worth saving.

S. Smith, Watertown


The comparisons to Clinton are ridiculous. Unfortunate as Clinton's behavior was, the fact is that it involved a consenting adult. It was psychologically normal behavior. What we're talking about here is pedophilia. That's a sickness, and a crime. The inability to tell the difference is just further evidence of how brainwashed and confused catholics are about human sexuality. Which is exactly why sick men are drawn to the priesthood, and why they are able to manipulate the emotions of their prey so effectively.

Jerry, Brookline


I think the Catholic Church is a paradox!! They claim they are a non profit organization while they are trying to go bankrupt also... Kind of funny isn't it.

Thomas, Norwood MA


the catholic church should be charged with crimes. they are an organization, like the mob, that thinks it can do whatever it wants without repurcussions. I am no longer a catholic.

Mary, Lowell


The church (regardless of what religion) is suppose to represent the people and help them with their faith in what ever "God" they believe in. The catholic church ( Cardinal Law is part of the catholic church ) has repeateadly let its people down. These people that have been let down include followers, the majority of priest who have done and will continued to do a good job and God. The catholic church should be worried about the people that have put their faith in it and not about proctecting its reputation/pocketbook. By consistantly covering up its dirty laundry the church has not done its job. The powers in the church need to take a serious look at themselves. Are they solely to blame for what has happened, no, but the bigger problem stems from how they have dealt with it. People ( Priest are people) are human and they make mistakes. If the church had dealt with the issues as they happened it would have been accepted by the masses and things would now be fine. To come out after the fact and try to come clean doesn't work. It is quite clear that the church cares little about who it should care about and more about protecting itself. To be a good church the church needs to put its people first. Are we to believe that current leadership understands this as they fight about settlements and refuse to move forward. Get on with it.

Dan, Boston


It's long past the time for Cardinal Law to resign, and for Attorney General Reilly to press charges against Bernard Law. Catholics need to force the issue, there are too many good priests and now is the time for them to use their pulpits to call for Law's resignation and for people to claim their church.

Mary, Cambridge, MA


It seems to me that the Catholic Church has run out of options. I continue to be discouraged by the new revelations. Aren't we at the point that Attorney General Reilly has to consider that the coverup by the church authorities constitutes criminal conspiracy - equally, if not more destructive than the acts of the perpetrators themselves. Perhaps that scenario would be sufficient to convince Cardinal Law to resign. Then practicing Catholics could begin their own healing process and reconnect to the valuable spiritual guidance that the Church provides to so many.

Chris Counihan, Gloucester


It's becoming clearly apparent that the leaders of the church (both Cardinal Law and others)have known about the abuse (sexual, physical and emotional) for decades. It was systemic and provided a safe haven for men, who if they were exposed, would be convicted felons. It is heinous to think these same leaders were in a position to protect our most vulnerable population and not only looked the other way, but provided sanctuary to these men. Every cardinal and bishop in this country should be investigated to sse what part they played in being an accessory to these outrageous crimes. PLEASE DON'T CALL THEM ACTS....CALL THEM WHAT THEY ARE: CRIMES!

Joan , Brewster


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