January 25, 2004
January 4, 2004
Your thoughts on the priest sexual abuse scandal
The priest sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church has been unfolding for 3 months now, not just locally, but also nationally and overseas. We'd like to hear your thoughts on what steps the church should take to address the problem. What can rank-and-file Catholics do? How can church officials regain the trust of the faithful?
We the people are the "CATHOLIC CHURCH". For every priest that is bad there are hundreds more that are devoted to the Church. I believe that the Cardinal should resign and let the Church in Boston rebuild. Our Catholic Churches in FL are alive and well. We can't seem to build enough. I pray for all the Priests in the Boston Archdioces that have been caught in the middle of this scandal. I have worked with many of them for years. I thank them all. May God Bless Them.
Patricia Griffin, Inverness, FL
Rank and file Catholics should show their protest by staying away from the church until real changes begin to take place. Stop their contributions, donations and offerings until new policies are put in place. The church heirarchy needs to end the secrecy and coverups that have gone on for much too long. They need to accept accountability for their heinous acts, and resign from their positions. If need be, they have to show willingness to move forward by joining together and establishing a break with Rome, and allowing Priests to marry and women in the clergy. It is the faith and doctrine, not the tradition and policy that make it a religion. It is time for the Catholic Church to move forward.
Peter M., Whitman
I think Cardinal Law should be brought up on formal charges of 'accessory' to each confirmed case where Law knew a convicted priest was moved to another Parish. This man of God has lived a lavish lifestyle while hiding documented pedophillia cases within his church. He now should spend his final days in a medium security facility enduring what many of our fellow brothers have been enduring for years. I expected more from these people. They abused their status, power and trust. Now they should pay.
First and foremost, Bernard Law has to go. He never showed and compassion or caring for the victims so there is no reason to believe he'll do the right thing now so the church should fire and defrock him. The attorney general should make every effort to charge as well. Secondly its time for a new pope as the current one is far to old to deal with problems of this magnitude. That position now requires a younger mindset and much more energy.
Allow priests to marry and also allow women priests. That's all.
Firstly, let me say if a crime has been done let the crime be punished. Secondly, let me say that the press, to prove it's impartiality and that it is dealing with the issue of pedophilia honestly, needs to address the issue of the pedophilia in the country at large.
phil saliga, webster groves, missouri
It's so sick. Time to clean house at the church
Almost ten years ago, I read an interview with Andrew Greeley, a Catholic priest who writes popular detective and romantic novels. He predicted that revelations of sexual abuse would be the undoing of the American church, unless sweeping changes were made to deal with a church hierarchy that prevents open discussion and debate. He was exactly right. The current revelations of child abuse are shocking enough, but let's not forget that for every victim who comes forward there are likely many more who feel they cannot. Boys, girls, women, men, ordained and lay members of the church have all been caught up in the psychosexual morass created by an institution that values conformity above all else. I was raised Catholic, and I have wonderful memories of the faithful, committed men and women who dedicated themselves to their faith. They don't deserve the fallout from the bad behavior of aberrant priests and power-hungry prelates. But the fact is, the Church is an utterly flawed institution, just like any other run by mortal men. This is an organization that practices total sex discrimination, consolidates wealth and power out of the reach of its constituents, and squelches intellectual questioning of its authority. I wouldn't take a job with a company that operated that way --- why should I practice faith there? The teachings of Christ are a radical call to selflessness, community, and rejection of material trappings, more similar to Zen Buddhism than to the baroque bureacracy built up in Rome and Boston. Cardinal Law should follow the example of the new bishop of Metuchen, NJ, who is a friend of my family --- his first message to his diocese was to take an open stance on child abuse and turning perpetrators over to the civil authorites, in order to restore trust. What a concept.
It seems imperative to get the Church's attention and history suggests that withholding all contributions is the only effective way to accomplish that. Once the Church becomes willing to have open dialogue, not just issue proclamations, then serious reform can begin. Clearly the Church is rotten to the core throughout the world and has been so for quite some time. Premises that have proven effective in other sectors - such as openness; equal participation regardless of gender, willing submission to agreed upon laws, etc. - should be incorporated or at least considered. Past offenders and their protectors should be pursued and removed. Environments should be established in which male heterosexuals would not feel ostracized. Denying females greater responsibilities seems incredibly foolish given the shortage of priests and the declining appeal to "normal" males. Once ethical and organizationalimprovements are in place, it would seem appropriate to address those issues which have rendered the Church largely irrelevant to most Catholics, at least in the US and Ireland. For example, contraception. There is an extremely large population who have indicated a willingness to become active participants in a cleansed and refocused Church. It is a disgusting mess today.
Peter Ryan, Stoughton
Major changes need to occur. The Catholic community need's to witness these changes in order to feel comfortable in the parish. Priests need to be trained to recognize predatory behavior in themselves and their colleagues. Unfortunately, until I see REAL changes in place, my son will never be left alone in the parish or in parish sponsored activities.
Southie, South Boston