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?
I had always thought that parents who raised their children in the Catholic church were putting their children in harm's way. Witness that everyone I know who is Catholic has had years of psychiatric counseling, particularly among women. Now I am outraged not only by the psychiatric anguish, but also by the unending litany of horrid physical abuses, mostly inflicted on men. This Church is not only antiquated, but also sick, and has to be shut down. Catholics, abandon ship before it's too late!
The thing that bothers me is how much support he gets from within the church. Last weekend he was celebrating mass and there was this surreal moment where he shined throught the eyes of all the clergy and loyals in the place. For as long as there is support from within the BA there will be no effective changes and no justice for the abused. What we need here is an indictment against the leader of a corporation as done with so many corporate leaders in the past.
It appears that the Catholic Church has used the pedophile scandal as a diversionary tactic to get peoples minds off the real issues facing the Church, namely the divinity of Christ, the Trinity, the infallibility of the Pope, the meaning of the Eucharist, birth control, the ordination of women, divorce, etc. Bishops such as Cardinal Law, from Boston, or Bishop Frey, from Lafayette, have used priests such as Geoghan, or Gauthe, to run wild as pedophiles as a diversionary tactic. Let us remember that the Catholic Church subscribes to a medieval theology. The last real pronouncements came from the Council of Trent. Vatican II was a meaningless exercise. There has been no updating in theology for over 400 years. And why not? Itís strictly a power play for the Pope and bishops to lord it over the faithful. Now why did they choose pedophilia? They chose it because they could see little harm in it. Pope Julius III, who reigned from 1550 to 1555, picked a 15-year old lad from Parma to be a Cardinal and made him Vatican secretary of state. Those where the days when a visiting male friend would be asked by his host if he wanted a young maiden or a boy to spend the night with him. Father Shanley with his man-boy love would have fit right in. Now the kicker is the amount the Catholic Church has had to pay out in settlements. I donít believe Law, Frey, OíBrien, Weakland, Mahony, et al, had any idea it would cost so much. But what difference does it make? Theyíre not paying out their own money; itís the money of the faithful and in the Catholic Church the faithful is of little account. Will this diversionary tactic work? The Vatican seems to think so. The Church has set up a system to protect the pedophile priests who have served the Church so well. And future pedophiles are also to be protected. My answer to all this is that the Pope and his bishops should visit a place such as the Cathedral in Ulm, and ask themselves: Why is this no longer a Catholic Church? A diversionary tactic that harms little children for a handful to maintain power is regrettable, and hopefully, if there is a just God, will fail.
Raymond Jordan, Concho, AZ 85924
Cardinal Law has not only lost moral authority, logically he never had any since he has no morals! Boston should look to VOTF for leadership; they have morals and good motivation, knowledge and a method. To include clergy, Walter Cuenen and Rev. Burkold(?) from Sharon could be consultants. The diocese should sell its property to give some measure of fairness to survivors and divest itself of the vestiges of power and wealth. Maybe someone could teach them about Jesus and His Gospel message and meaning!
Dorothy Picot, Danvers, MA
Cardinal Law's continued leadership of the Archdiocese will lead to the end of the Roman Catholic Church in America as we know it. His Eminence is no longer the moral and spiritual shepherd so desperately needed in our troubling times. To whom do we turn? How do we defend the undefendable? Christian Spirituality offers many paths to the truths of the Christ's Gospel. The path via Boston, via Rome is now one of such sickening gloom, one might rather the path of Sodom and Gomorrah? Or are they one and the same? His Eminence was once a guiding light for me, as a former seminarian and devout Catholic. His portrait, with kind words and signature once sat atop my piano. Now, I can not stomach the thought of his dealings, the light is dark, and I am left to wonder what to do with the portrait--now hidden away in such unabashed shame. The mansion on Commonwealth Avenue is now an epicenter of all things evil. The Cathedral pulpit is no longer a voice of Christ's Truth. And it is from Boston now the Church in America will be destroyed. And His Eminence will watch it all--aloof, ignorant, self-righteous and just plain stupid. There is an old tale that when a Cardinal dies and his ceremonial hat is hung high above the altar, his soul rises to Heaven only when the hat has crumbled and fallen to the floor. I can't help but wonder how long Bernard Law's soul will wait for such happy occasion. Cardinal Law will depart in shame; but he must depart. He has failed his office. He has failed his Church. And above all, he has failed his Lord.
Jason, North Adams
I am disappointed that the Roman Catholic Church is so out of touch and highly resistant to change with our times. Cardinal Law's response to this crisis is a reflection of the antiquated Vatican leadership. I believe that the time will come when American Catholics will want their own church which reflects the realities of our culture and times, with its own leaders, similar to Orthodox Christians and the Church of England had done centuries ago.
Boston Globe staff never stop and never wane from reporting the Catholic Church scandal. I grew up in Boston Catholic Church and Schools. As a teenager I knew of inconsistencies in policy within church. As an adult I beared witness to victims harmed by the church, it's priests and it's leaders. This purging is long overdo. Long overdo! Mr. Law needs to be prosecuted to the full extent of the justice system. If found guily he must serve time in jail. At the very least Mr. Law MUST resign . The Catholic Church is bankrupt in every way. It's parishioers must step up to the plate if the church is to survive. No more delay. Let's move forward and find justice!!!
Louise, Shutesbury, MA
Cardinal Law has broken the law, he should have been held to the same standards as so many other people are..... HE SHOULD HAVE REPORTED THESE CRIMES! He is no longer a leader in the Catholic Church, and should resign. Roman Catholics everywhere should fear for the integrity of the church, for each day that he remains as our Cardinal he spits on it's foundation. Why would Law care about the future of the church, when he didn't care about the innocense of it..... Our children? Law, you are evil!
It is not a religion that did wrong it was people. The lawsuits are unheard of and people are crawling out of the woodwork to get a piece of the pie. Well it is sad at what happened but what is money going to do to take those problems away? Nothing!! Money is greed and greed is not tolerated in any religion. It is one thing to want the abusers to go to jail for their crimes but to line their pockets with money is an even further disgrace to humanity. Also, it is not just priests. School teachers, coaches, counselors etc. These are all professions where predators are trusted with their prey. A Catholic Priest does not automatically equal sexual abuser.
firstname.lastname@example.org 12/06/2002 11:04 AM In response to David from Lawrence: "Isn't this a regurgitation of developments from earlier this year?" No this is new info that the Church tried to keep from going public. "Instead of waiting for response from the Cardinal, we assume that everything reported in the media is Gospel truth." The media seems to have a better hold on what the gospel truth is than the Church does lately. "I am amazed how this newspaper hasn't detailed more of the 'non-action' of Judge Lopez or how mob-brother Bulger kept information secret or how a 51 year old woman was clobbered to death by a gay man outside a Chicago Catholic Church (which I guess is not a hate crime)." What does any of this have to do with the scandal in the Church? Don't get the issues consused, you're leaving out deatils and then berating the Globe for doing the same. "In terms of morality, I would follow the teachings of the Catholic Church and not that of the Boston Globe Editorial page." Feel free to follow whomever you want, but Credibility of the Church as a moral authority has eroded signifigantly over the past year. It is not the Globe's job to be some sort of moral leader, it is the Globes job to report ther news, be it scandalous or positive. Frankly, I have seen a lot of balance in the Globe's reporting on this issue regarding a lot of good in the Church that had been shadowed over by the scandal.