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?
As a Catholic who loves her Church and believes in the Church's Mission and the sacramental nature of the Church, I am deeply shamed by the actions of SOME priests but am also grateful for the many good priests we do have. We live in a culture where sex sells and it is sold as being a mere item of pleasure and not what it truly is - an expression of love. And the issues of open homosexuality and the belief that it nothing more than an alternte lifestyle is a part of our culture and therefore some priests bought into that as well, forgetting who and what they are and the vows they took to be celibate. I have to live by my vows and I expect the same from others. We do have to make the distintion between pedophiles (those who molest pre-pubescent children)and those people who are attracted to teenagers. There is a difference and the Boston GLobe should make that clear! At first, I thought that his Eminence, Bernard Cardinal Law should resign, then I thought not - let him straighten out the mess. It would be easier for him to resign - in some respects, he is taking the harder road. I feel that I am living in the time of the Salem witch-hunts and there is a fever pitch from so many for him to resign. I can understand their thought process. Alan Keyes had two priests on his show last evening who had differing points of views on this so I guess it is OK for me to go against the mob and say - He must truly look into himself and ask - "What is the right and good and humble thing for me to do to make the Church a safe place for young adults and also a holier place for everyone?" That is his mission and only he can truly answer that! As a Catholic, I can pray for the Church I love and be vigilant aobut who is running it!
brenda breen, Boston MA
Cardinal Law - Step down now! You are a criminal and should be thankful that, as of yet, charges have not been brought against you! As to the theory that celibacy is the cure-all; if a priest is a pedophile, he will be a pedophile whether married or not. If he is a homosexual, he might seek out homosexual partners whether he is married or not. This notion that everything will be fine if a priest is married is rediculous. What the Church needs to do is act when there is misconduct not hide it and allow it to persist. It seems to me that the church is more concerned with it's image and financial security than with the well-being (especially the young) of it parishioners.
Is America Sleeping? Why has the issues of the Catholic Church been kept at the level of discussion of the "sexual abuse scandal"? I think the discussion needs to address the issue at a deeper level where I think Americans hesitate to go. That level is, "Has the Catholic Church established an alternative justice system in the USA"? "Does the Church's internal handling of the sexual abuse issues create a legal precedent for any institution in the USA to develop their own justice procedures in handling infractions against the civil law"? The Catholic Church does, in fact, have its own court and judges in regards to laws on marriages within the church, but these are Church laws (canon law). The sexual abuse issues are infractions of civil law, not church law, so why has the Catholic Church handled these issues internally? Is the Catholic Church assaulting the very Constitution which provides it the freedom to exist in the USA? Perhaps, only legal scholars could answer whether or not the Catholic Church has established an alternative justice system and whether this has established a legal precedent in the USA. As time passes, the public is finding that the actions of the Catholic Church were not limited to certain geographical areas but were nationwide. It has been said that one cannot sue the Vatican due to diplomatic immunity. However, we, as American citizens, need to question whether or not the American Government should rescind diplomatic immunity from Vatican State which has supported the actions of the Catholic Church unless every Bishop(Shepherd of the Flock) who made decisions or knew of decisions is asked to resign. Lastly, we need to question how much we are willing to protect our children as well as our American Constitution. Sincerely, Mary Lou Mlecko
Mary Lou Mlecko, Indiana, PA
From the John Porter scandal years ago, to the current current mess it has found itself in, we see the Church continue the pattern of trying to protect itself and cover-up its misdeeds. For people of religious conviction, this is worse than Watergate was to the American politcal psyche. For someone like myself, who left religion behind many years ago (from Catholic background on both family sides), it has only reinforced my belief that the Catholic Church is the most corrupt institution in the history of mankind.
Todd H., Arlington, VA (formerly of Mass.)
I'd never let my child be alone with a priest. Cardinal Law should be in jail---nevermind resign.
i think that cardinal law must step down so that we can start the healing process.as long as he is incharge i think that more people will lose faith in the church. how can he fix the problem when he was part of the problem? we need a fresh start.
First, I would like to see Cardinal Law step down. While he has not been charged with anything, I feel he should be as he knowingly let much of it go on. Also, I do not know of anyone that will have faith or support the local church now. I know I can't. Today is the 6th anniversary of my mother's death. In the past, I would attend Mass in her memory. Now I can't even do that because I feel by doing so, I would be supporting Cardinal Law. He is willing to "cut off the nose to spite the face."
The church leaders are out of touch with reality. They are so consumed with the reputation of their own that they lost sight of the issue of the victims. The church will survive because the fundamental values are inherant within the Catholic Church. There needs to be a complete change in leadership however. One major chnage has to be that anyone who has broken the law, clergy or not, needs to be prosecuted for a criminal act.
We feel that anyone who new about what was going on should step down no matter who they are and maybe the church can get back to services and help to people that need it.
Tony & Kay, Saugus, Ma.
Nothing in the church will change unless they realize that they are not above the law. They must also come forth and admit to their faults. The people are tired of lies and deception and unless there is dramatic change no trust will be regained.