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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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Cardinal Law needs to move out from behind his hypocritical mask and resign. Other bishops who have failed in this respect, likewise.

Angie , New York, NY


The Catholic Church deserves to keep Mr. Law as cardinal. There would be a push for true reform if the Church was sincere about ending abuse.

Drew, Boston


I BELIEVE THAT THE CARDINAL SHOULD STEP DOWN. I ALSO BELIEVE THAT YOUR PAPER IS EXPENDING FAR TOO MUCH ENERGY ON THIS STORY. ENOUGH ALREADY. I WISH YOU EXPENDED THIS MUCH FRONT PAGE COVERAGE ON OUR, (HAPPY TO SAY), EX PRESIDENT bill clinton and wife. THEY DESERVED TO BE EXPOSED. INSTEAD YOUR PAPER CONVIENTLY DESORTED THE TRUTH OR KEPT QUIET SO AS NOT TO DESTROY REPUTATIONS OR TO CAUSE THEM ANY POLITCAL DISCOMFORT. INTERESTING THOUGHT WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING IF bill WAS THE CARDINAL AND A CATHOLIC.

john , andover


I am totally disgusted by this situation. Just when I think it can't possibly get any worse, it does and I fear that there is more to come. Having been Catholic for over 40 years, and a mother of 3 teenage children, I feel so much anger, frustration, and despair. But my husband reminds me that we are the church and we need to take our church back. By the grace of God, I hope we can before it is too late.

Mary, Dedham


Pedophilia or homosexuality? Why is it that most of the victems were male and near the age of puberty? Why aren't there more cases of priests having relations w/ female girls? If I were a coach and had sexual relations w/ a female near the age of puberty, would I suffer from pedophilia? Remember, the majority of priests are good and no other institition has helped feed, educate, and cloth the poor like the Catholic church.

David , Islington


The very idea that the Archdiocese of Boston is potentially "bankrupt" is absolutely ludicrous and offensive to me. What Law and other higher-ups of his ilk are, is morally bankrupt. Making Law resign is only the tip of the iceburg, however and wont solve a thing. He is only one of many, all the way up to the Pope himself who never have, and apparantly never will respect the people they purport to lead. They are hypocrites of the worst order, and I have serious doubts about the validity of their faith, if they think it is acceptable in God's eyes to allow children to be continuously destroyed by priests. If Christ were on this earth today, I have no doubt he'd be repeating his actions in the Synogogue in Jerusalem, except this time in Rome. The phrase "you have turned my Father's house into a den of thieves" rings more true than ever. I for one will not contribute one dime to the Church until the heirarchy recognizes and corrects their multitude of sins. I'm only deeply saddened that it will most likely not happen in my lifetime!

C T, Quincy


I am tired of hearing about how sick and wavering priest were allowed to continue the raping of church congregations whether it be the most vulnerable of victims, drugs, beatings, etc. Now "Law" wants to file bankruptcy to further protect the church and not the church goers. This has been his main mission all along, he has never exhibited any desire to repair years of damage to innocent people or to protect them. His only concern is his beloved church. Well someone should tell him that there isn't a church without a congregation. He lost the power to lead the masses on the first transfer of a wayward priest to an unexpecting congregation. He needs to resign and he should also be charged as an accomplice in these crimes, because if I am not mistaken, an accomplice is someone who had knowledge of criminal activity and did not stop that crime and further promoted that crime through actions of their own. Why does our state government allow this to continue? No one should be above the law.

Tina, Watertown


Law belongs in jail. Anybody that gives money to the archdioces is an idiot. The entire leadership needs to get tossed out. This is disgusting, hypocritical and ozzing with irony beyond words. The catholic church is the richest organization in the world (and tax-free to boot!) so to claim bankruptcy is sickening.

Doug , Woburn


1. Yes, Cardinal Law has lost both the moral authority and political support to lead. 2. The concept of the church filing for bankruptcy is an abuse of the bankruptcy laws. 3. The leaders of any other institution sheltering such abusive behavior within its fold would be facing criminal charges for aiding and abetting. Why is this not happening here?

Roberta , Jamaica Plain


I am a devout person of faith who has not been able to step foot in my parish church since the crisis surfaced. I refuse to be part of a system of denial and blame. And I continue to feel that the church leaders just don't "get it". If the Cardinal had in the very beginning said to us publicly that his heart is breaking for the victims, none of this would have happened. I am and always will be a Catholic, and want to be part of the solution, whatever that might be. In the meantime, I am more discouraged that ever that the entire hierarcy of the church was and is more interested in their image and damage control that the victims. And among the faithful,where is the outrage????

Jean , Franklin


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