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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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Page 15

In response to comment no. 1 G. Boston. Yes, we do need to hear what is going on. Without the press and news media we are not as well informed as we need to be. By the way, we don't just pick a religion. Religion is not purchased and return if something is broken (we do that at department stores). I have been a Catholic for 44 years, do I just go somewhere and return my religion somewhere and PICK something else? Cardinal Law should step down and let us start the healing process.

L, Boston

Cardnial Law is not The Church. Although, he appears to view himself as god - he is not. He has misplaced his moral authority for greed and has irreversibility lost the ability to lead. Boston Catholics must look for leadership amongst themselves and the remaining good and honest priests. The Boston Archdiocese has over 2 billion dollars in assets. Thus, plenty of opportunity to make whole and heal. This reprehensible Cardnial cannot and will not heal. He must be removed.

Russell , Hingham

To think many of these "holy" men stood in front of abortion clinics trying to shame women into having children they could not support so that hopefully, they would have more to molest in the future is sickening. Read the article, "What The Nuns Knew" in last month's Rosie magazine to see that this type of corruption is endemic to the Catholic church and has been for centuries-- Old powerful perverted men parading as priests, bishops, and cardinals have used their power and the religious beliefs of their flocks to do whatever they want. They have at the same time made people who wanted to divorce ( no matter why-if they were abused, or whatever) or people who committed any sin feel like the scum of the earth and acted as though they were their moral superiors. WAKE UP. Religion --all kinds-- not just Catholicism has been used to commit all manner of atrocities the world over for thousands of years.This is just the tip of the iceberg. These priests etc. are not believers in a higher power or they would have stopped the sinning, faced up to the legal repercussions and the powers-that-be of the church would have punished them and turned them over to the authorities.They would have accepted the outcome as "God's will". Many priests joined specifically to have access to their prey and to be the wolf in sheep's clothing, above suspicion.Sometimes they molested the children in the most dire of circumstances--boys whose father's had died--pretending to be a male presence in the life of those poor, grieving youngsters. The parents who are still in the church need to withdraw their children from the church, the ccd programs and boycott the church, no one should contribute to the church in any way until sweeping changes are made, all who were involved should be fired and face prosecution, no bankruptcy filing...WHERE DOES A RELIGION GET SO MUCH MONEY FOR REAL ESTATE, ART, ETC. when there is so much suffering in the world. The fact that religions go to some of the poorest countries in the world, where each day is a misery of starvation and disease and try to enforce a no birth control situation to assure more overpopulation , disease, starvation and continues the cycle of poverty for billions of people is a sin beyond belief.If the problem of poverty were solved in the world the church wouldn't have an excuse to ask for more dollars to assure the molesters have a cushy retirement. Now we know part of the appeal for the priests is where life is cheap( poor countries) so is sex with children. How many priest in the future or in the past have spread aids? This situation has got to be stopped and it needs to come from the power of the people within that religion since as usual the men in power want to go back to their business as usual and secrecy where they can do whatever they want. What they have done is unforgiveable!!!!!!!!

L.Lawrence, Watertown,Ma.

I cannot add meaningfully to the voices that have already expressed their outrage here. Cardinal Law and his henchmen must step down or perhaps Justice will prevail and deal with them in its own way in time. I hope that we can move on and redeem what's left of the Church in my lifetime.

BLC, Jamaica Plain

I commend the Boston Globe for sticking with this story. Some will say that The Globe is anti-Catholic, but what has been unveiled since January of this year is nothing short of a massive plot against the faithful. For decades, sanctimonious men like Cardinal Law have hidden behind the authority of the Church while they contributed to this rotten mess of molesting children, then when things got a bit hot, moving the molesters to another "fresh" parish. I can only imagine that this crime is too imbedded, too widespread, for any part of the hierarchy to clean it up. Certainly, it appears doubtful that the Vatican will see their way toward taking a moral high ground. It is time for a Vatican council to study the whole business of who should become a priest. They have danced around the subject for over 500 years, but maybe, just maybe, demanding celibacy and then looking the other way is not what Jesus had in mind. Sam Rockport, MA

Sam, Rockport, MA

As I read over the messages on this board I am amazed to see how many comments contain mistakes of fact. In today's paper there is not much help for these folks to get the story straight. Father Walter Cuenin is not a great theologian, he is no longer worthy of the title "academic." He is however a loudspeaker for a great many "teachings" that simply are not sound. Why he does not join another faith and live out his years in contentment sharing the tenets of some other faith I don't know. His parish is not 100% behind him. To create that impression is a terrible mistake. Jack Connors and Tommy O'Neill both spoke out last spring against Cardinal Law. To quote them anew as if they just decided not to support the cardinal is disingenuous at best and shady journalistic ethic at worst. VOTF has neer supported CArdinal Law, and based on the meetings I have attended, have thoroughly trashed him. So quoting two members of VOTF wasn't really "proof" of "cooling for support." Cardinal Law, many lawyers, other clerics and numerous administrators mishandled abuse allegations long before 1984, and, somewhat, thereafter. Dead men don't sell newspapers, though, so you point the whole story at Cardinal Law. When will we read of the victims revictimization by the lawyers who have taken millions of dollars in "fees?" Is 30% of $90 million a fair fee? Or should the victims who have been suffering hideously for years get the money actually awarded to them less some reasonable, fixed fee for lawyers. Can the Globe afford to point a finger at the lawyers who have supplied it with a steady stream of stories? The lawyers need the Globe and the Globe needs the lawyers. Come to think of it, the reporters and the lawyers are the only ones who have suffered nothing and who have made loads of money on this whole affair. If filing bankruptcy will get the victims all the money that's coming to them, then I'm all for it. The only way they will get less money is if their lawyers take it from their award. And the best way to keep those lawyers at the trough is for the Globe to support the lawyers. Should the cardinal resign? Should Walter Cuenin? I would not think for a minute that anyone relying on published news reports has enough information to decide either matter. One thing is certain: It's high time the Globe was printed on yellow paper, to match the high shade its "journalism" has attained.

Elizabeth, Newton

I am appalled by the actions and reactions of the Catholic Church. It seems to me that most of the clergy from the bottom to the highest top are liers and hypocryts. I would not be surprised to see the Church lose a great many followers over this debacle. If I were Catholic you can be sure I would be looking for a new and different way to practice my faith.

Appalled, Boston, MA

The Catholic Church throughout the world and throughout history has been the ultimate hypocrisy. While guilting generations with the fear of burning in hell for sins such as taking the Lord's name in vain, they quietly and efficiently fostered serial pedophiles. The jig is up on the largest corporation in the world. Enough is enough. Stop the donations. Stop the insanity. I was born into the Catholic church, baptized, confirmed, and married in the Church, but this is the end of the line for me. My faith is in God, not in men playing god for the sake of the almighty dollar and their egos. No one with any ounce of moral fiber would continue to support Cardinal Law and the Church officials after hearing what has gone on for the last 40 years and what was allowed to be done to our children by men of the cloth. Time to tear it down and build a new Catholicism centered on the lay people and faith, not some antiquated system of guilt and deception fueled by greed that is only concerned with self-preservation.

Barb , Boston

I think the Cardinal should face criminal charges.

Pat, Wellesley

I find it disgusting that every other day we hear another story about child being taken advantage of or additional scandals within the church. It is these reasons I do not attend church!!!

rwood, boston, ma

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