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?
Everyone seems to think it was the sin of pride and the desire to protect the church that caused the Cardinal to act as he did. I don't think so. I think it was pure personal ambition. I think that to become a Cardinal and have a hope for something higher you have to toe the line. (It has sometimes been rumored that Cardinal Law could be the first American pope - think about that!) I think Cardinal Law is a political animal who was protecting his career by not only moving pedophile priests around and intimidating victims, but by refusing to provide the moral leadership that could have changed church policy. I think that in doing so he acted criminally and despicably. But I know he'll never be charged with anything or jailed. On the other hand, the issue is forgiveness. In the Catholic tradition you are supposed to forgive those who sin, if they truly repent. I think this had a lot to do with the way in which Cardinal Law treated the priests in his diocese. I think he forgot that for a person to be absolved - they have to TRULY repent. I think that he needs to show repentence before he can be forgiven. I think that until he does the Catholics of Boston should shun him. I also think that we should not give money to the church until the Vatican has changed church policy. This is because it is the Vatican, ultimately, who maintains Law in his position, who has set the policy of secrecy and continuing predation, and who is tearing the church apart with its callous indifference.
I picture Cardinal Law, wandering the halls of his residence in the wee hours of the morning, glass of scotch in hand, talking to the portraits of past Cardinals on the wall. "Cardinal O'Connell, where did I go wrong? Cardinal Cushing, should I continue to listen to my spin doctors or suck on the tailpipe of an MBTA bus?"
Cardinal Law and all his co-conspirators should be imprisoned. That is the only way Law and other cretinous bishops like him will get the message.
Steven, Milwaukee WI
Law should resign. It is inevitable, and the sooner he takes the fall the sooner something can start that has at least the potential for healing. Priests must speak out and speak up. Their silence only adds to the conspiracy of the church. They should make it clear, publicly, that they are committed to Christ, not to an institution. I am not a Catholic, but if I were one, I would inform my own priest or pastor that I was making no further contributions until he spoke out publicly and until Law was gone. And if I had kids in Catholic schools, I'd leave them there for the rest of this term but they would not be back next fall unless Law was gone. If hundreds of thousands of Catholics did that, either the Church would take major steps to get its act together or it would lose much of the "moral authority" that it hasn't already lost.
Richard, Seattle, Washington
The Institutional Church needs to hand over decision making powers to the People of the Church. "They" have failed us over and over and over again. It is no longer the Church of Jesus but the church of arrogant, ego centric men. Cardinals Law and Egan and Bishop Daley and all others who have come out of Boston or Bridgeport need to be removed. Immediately. They are all guilty of depraved indifference regardless of their excuses and donkey turd. It is also time for criminal charges to be filed. If a lay person committed these acts, they would be locked up. Men and Women Religious as well as all men of the Clergy should be treated no differently. Clean house now....then reorganize.
elizabeth, Naples, Florida
WHY HAS NO ONE BEEN ARRESTED? WHY HASN'T CARDINAL LAW BEEN CHARGED FOR COLLUSION, AIDING AND ABETTING? ARE BOSTON LAWMAKERS, INCLUDING THE DA,AND THE BOSTON JUDICIAL SYSTEM, SO INTIMIDATED BY THESE SCUMBAG CLERGYMEN THAT JUSTICE WILL NEVER BE SERVED , IN THE USUAL AND CORRECT MANNER? ALL CATHOLICS ARE EMBARRASSED AND DISHEARTENED BY THIS NONACTION...CHARGE AND ARREST THE LOT OF THEM, INCLUDING THE ONE WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CONTINUATION OF THESE CRIMES=CARDINAL LAW. STOP IT NOW.
jane mcgregor, CALIFORNIA
It's a shame that the money donated to the church that was originally intended to help the needy are now going to be used to pay the costs of legal fees and settlements. I know Cardinal Law cannot ever compensate the church or the faithful for the monetary, emotional, and spiritual damage that he has caused by his negligence and indifference. The least he could do is resign. I'm also very upset that no other church officials has formally asked for his resignation.
From everything I have heard the priests accused of the alledged allegations should be removed immediately from the church until all the evidence has been examined after which if necessary they should be charged for their criminal actions. This is devasting for everyone involved. If other priests knew what was happening they should also be charged with accessory after the fact. To have this knowledge and not do anything is like committing the crime twice. Law should step down immediately.
J. Ross, Woburn
for starters,catholic churches must become more accesable. in the past this has been an "inconvenience" for the priests at the rectories. now we know why! parishioners need to see that the facilities are used for community projects and not just for bingo. individual parishes will interview their own priests, hiring and firing on merit. investigations can be done by committee. obviously priests have too much time on their hands. lets put them to work in soup kitchens,helping people.no reason why they can't have chiors again. we need to keep the priests busy with real work. young teen dances, holiday parties,etc. they can't be closed off from the parishioners in their sterile buildings, making mischief.
Catholics need to bear in mind that it is not CATHOLICISM that is being called into question here. It is the actions of the men who administer the business of the Catholic Church Organization. Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. These men have been corrupted. In the terminology of Catholicism, they have sinned. If they are truly sorry then God will forgive them. However, they must do penance. They are no longer to lead the flock. What steps should the church take? 1) Remove the corrupt from power 2) Replace them with the untainted What can Catholics do? 1) take a lesson from Catholics in South America and Italy. Don't leave your children alone with the priest. How can the Catholic Church officials regain trust? 1) Step in NOW and remove the corrupt 2) Apologize 3) Recognize that the rebuilding of trust will take time and that during that time, our ever present press will be keeping a watchful eye on the Church.