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Spotlight Report

He tried 'to be another Christ for them'

By Globe Staff, 12/4/2002

 Related stories
Records detail shifting of priests
Priest invoked religion for sex acts
Quotes from Meffan interview
Records show a trail of deception
Life of a violent South Shore priest
Bishop's letters of warning ignored

 Documents
Letter from Law to Rev. Morrissette
   December 13, 1984
Letter from Law to Rev. Forry
   March 28, 1988
Letter from Law to Rev. Burns
   April 16, 1991
Letter from Law to Rev. Meffan
   June 17, 1996
Letter from Law to Rev. Frost
   April 12, 1999

The following are quotes from a Globe interview with the Rev. Robert V. Meffan.

On whether he thought molesting teenage girls was wrong:

''I really didn't, because I had developed a wonderful relationship of love with these people, a real solid relationship of love, and I had no intentions of ever hurting anybody and ever causing any problems. They were youngsters who were daily communicants. That's the thing: They were kind of close to God, and I was trying to get them to love Christ even more intimately and even more closely. They were wonderful girls. I have no hatred toward them, no animosity toward them or anything like that. To me they were just wonderful, wonderful young people. It was a very beautiful, I thought, beautiful, spiritual relationship that was physical and sexual.''

On why he did it:

''What I was trying to show them is that Christ is human and you should love him as a human being. Don't think he's up there and he's spiritual and he's not human and physical. He's human, he's physical. That's what I was trying to point out to them. I felt that by having this little bit of intimacy with them that this is what it would be like with Christ. The other side of the coin is I know people feel that we were taught to be another Christ for them. We're taught at the seminary to be another Christ, and that's what I based my whole priesthood on: trying to be like Christ.''

On whether he violated his vow of celibacy:''I didn't think that was destroyed because I always felt that to destroy celibacy you really had to have intercourse; you'd have to be a father.''

This story ran on page A27 of the Boston Globe on 12/4/2002.
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