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?
I don't understand why the church would *need* to declare bankruptcy. The real estate value of the churches should be sufficient to cover the costs of settling lawsuits. They just need to close many of the churches and sell off the assets to cover their liabilities. If the church succeeds in obtaining civil liability protection and thwarts these lawsuits by filing bankruptcy, then a Federal prosecutor should go after the church for the criminal enterprise it has engaged in. The church has provided shelter and opportunity for hundreds of pedophiles to systematicaly and repeatedly rape our children! I'm not saying that was the purpose of the Church, but it is a pretty high price to pay as a side effect. What I really cannot fathom is how the Church can continue to be so morally insensitive about all this...the Reformation was started over a lot less.
My fiance and I will be attending pre canna classes in the next few months and if they ask any stupid questions or question our faith, I am walking out. Cardinal Law....should walk out. He is no good to lead the Church and is a questionably decent person. To have knowledge of such instances should be a crime in and of itself. To cover it up...has to be a crime. Its a shame....growing up I thought missing Church was such a big deal....little did I know......
There can be no doubt that a carefully considered policy was put in place by Cardinal Law to avoid scandal, even to the point of placing children at risk from abusive priests. Each day that Law stays in place is a day lost for healing in Boston. To be so blindly loyal to the institutional church so as to lose sight of being a shepherd to the most vulnerable of the flock, children, demands repentance. It is unfortunate that John Paul II permits this situation to go on.
Nick S., Harrisburg, Pa
The corruption in the Catholic Church is as plain as the nose on our faces...and has always been as far as I can remember. I believe that God is allowing the corruption to be plainly revealed to give a wake-up call to those with hearts who truly want to serve Him. I suggest to get out of that "burning building" ASAP...as I did over 15 years ago) The Catholic Church and a great number of its leaders are spiritually and morally bankrupt. I would "bet the house" that this corruption is not only in Boston, but everywhere the Catholic Church exists. Check it out! Jesus rebuked the Pharisees, the religious leaders of his day in Matthew 15:8-9: "These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men"
Steve, Buffalo, New York
I grew up Catholic, Cardinal Law makes me sick to my stomach and so do most of the Priest., even the Pope bothers me. The Pope thought that dismissing a Priest for ONE sexual act against a child was too harsh..PLEASE, they are supposed to be human representations of Christ on EARTH-WHAT IS GOING ON HERE????? AM I In the twilight zone
Once I the news of Archdioces' plans for bankrupcy came to light, I gave up. Shame on Lake Street, especially you Cardinal Law. As a practicing Catholic, I am so angry and so ashamed of our Church. I am so angry and ashamed of the guilt and pressure put on ordinary Catholics trying to practice our faith over the years - our genuine struggles over divorce, birth control, homosexuality, morality - only to have our "spiritual leaders" be shown to be worse than our wildest imaginations. I am so sorry for the victims and their families. I am so sorry and ashamed that those of us in the laity didn't do more when we knew we had bad priests in our midsts - we only cared that the guy was removed from OUR parish. Rarely was the case when we went the extra mile to find out where they went next. Sell the damn property, the trinkets, and everything else that represents how far from our faith we have drifted. It's only buildings - and look how far we have drifted to protect bricks and mortar over human souls. If the victims want money - here you go. Who cares anymore? But, money will just allow the Church to continue since settlements will likely be sealed. I hope what they get is the truth, full apologies from their tormenters, and true reform so no more families ever suffer as they have. Cardinal Law: step down. You cannot continue to be "company man." For once, stand up for healing, stand up for truth, and demand a full cleaning of our Church. Your flock is devastated, Father. Start listening.
So very sad and angry, Waltham
Well I am really sick of all this, why can't the priests just marry? That would weed out any wierd ducks.
Cardinal Law long ago ceased to be a moral leader. As a recovering Catholic, who was an altarboy for 9 years and worked in the local church where I grew up for 4 years, I have seen priests for who they are. The vast majority are dedicated men who have made a noble commitment to a way of life dedicated to God. As with any other segment of society, there are people who make choices to destroy that segment that they are a part of. Cardinal Law is an international level politician in the Vatican nation who has learned from every other politician to deflect responsibility for negative events and thrust himself infront of others to claim responsiblity for positive events.
In any other Company the head (CEO) would be fired for less. But because Law hides behind his roman collar - he thinks - as well as the Vatican - that he is above the law of the land in the US. No f'n way. Law should be expelled from the Archdiocese of Boston so we can heal. Law has lost his flock and all respect. Money, Money, Money ... was a Holy Crock. Let the Archdiocese of Boston sell its property and live as Jesus did. Ummmmm. Gee.. I thought a vow of poverty was taken by priests. So why is it so hard to sell the houses, land and etc. to enable the victims proper payment for suffering and the Church (meaning the people of the Roman Catholic Faith) can be proud once again of its Bishops and Priests. i.e. Law MUST LEAVE Boston now.
Diane, Whitman, MA
From the apprearance and physical data it appears that Cardinal NEVER HAD the moral fiber to lead the Church. He probably lost it long before he came to Boston.....It's a sad event for the Church, but even more tragic for the victims. It's sad that the economic effect has become priority.