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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 25

Cardinal Law has not had the moral standing to lead for quite a while but like most of the hierarchy in the Roman Catholic Church he is blind to anything but his own beliefs in his divine right to rule. I say "rule" because he certainly does not lead. As for the bankruptcy filing I am in total disbelief that the diocese is anywhere near being without funds. The tax free, income providing properties alone would pay the costs of settlements. Perhaps those who run the diocese should look to their vows of poverty and give up the trappings of their offices to pay for their sins like the rest of us mortals. These latest revelations, especially the one concerning the priest with children who was with his lover while she lay dying of a drug overdose, should show the corruption rampant in the Church. It starts at the lowest parish level and rises all the way to the Papal Seat in Rome. Today's horror stories are not new in the Church. It has been this way since inception. "Celibacy" is a myth that has been used to cover sexual and moral corruption for centuries. No government or military scandal in my lifetime can possibly compare to this because of the devastation is has brought and will continue to bring to the faithful who truly live their beliefs.

David, Boston

Bernie Law has abeted rapists. Why hasn't Bernie been cuffed and hauled off to jail? He shouldn't be given the opportunity to resign. He should be arraigned like the criminal he apparently is. Joe

Joseph, Lincoln

My view is as it was from the first day when no humble and proper apology was made. I am appalled at the heinousness of what has happened and more so at the big cover up. I honestly don't understand why anyone would stay in a church that was so ungodly at its core - no matter how sincere and honest the rest of the congregation is. I am so glad there is the Bible. When we loose track of God's word and start making up our own rules we are bound to failure. By the way, human infallibility is NOT Biblical (among many, many, other things the Catholic church practices). Only God and his word is infallible. .

Jennifer , Randolph

I think Law should be put behind bars for perjury and for hiding the terrible acts against those children. I think that the Catholic church should have to pay every penny to the abuse victims, and should not be allowed a "free pass" by declaring bancruptcy. The church has a wealth of assets at its disposal. What happened behind its doors was immoral, illegal, and just plain wrong. Now, those who suffered at the hands of their abusers should come first. If that puts the church in an "unfavorable" financial situation, oh well. If the church has to close its doors permanently as a result of this scandal it has tried, even up until last week, to hide I think it would have gotten what it deserves. Clearly, Law and others high ranking in the church are looking out for their own best interests. Let's be honest, the Catholic church as an organization has always put money ahead of faith and continues to do so now at the expense of those whom it has victimized. Faith, simply put, is what's inside a person, not where or with whom they practice it. If the Catholic church went away altogether, perhaps people could find comfort from within. I just don't see how anyone could put money into a collection plate, or give anything monetarily to the church, as it clearly is attempting to avoid paying the victims all of what they deserve, and serving its own self-interests. Frankly, it's sickening to think that countless defenseless children were molested by men who are so boldly trying to get away with it in the public eye. The worst part is they hide behind religion to manipulate public opinion. These are not people who are any better than you or I, yet it seems as though they expect, and to some extent are receiving special treatment for being religious figures. I encourage people to see them on the same level as everyone else and treat them according to their crimes against children.

I hate child molesters

First, it seems as if the depravity is epidemic. Second, Law has no "moral authority" to speak, for example, against divorce and abortion, or tell anyone what to do, think and feel, because he is guilty of harboring sex predators for years. I'm not lawyer, so I don't understand why he's [apparently] not considered a criminal in our legal system. IF, as he says, he knew nothing, it's because none of it registered -- the victims didn't matter to him. After all, Catholics are only sheep. (I always hated that analogy.)

Susan, Mansfield

If this were anyone other than an religous figure what would the consequences be for aiding and abeting a crime and covering up a crime. Not just once but repeatedly, in this country and throughout the world. If these men choose to become examples of how to live a life in deference to God with high morals, offering guidence and abosolution to others. Shouldn't those they guide and instruct expect to see a stong consequence when they fail to admit,protect and help those they vow to care for. The more we find out, the more we realise how much has been hidden. It seems to me the Catholic church operates similar to a large company, in our society there are ways of dealing with companies like this. As this has become not only an American issue, but a worldwide one, perhaps this should become a matter for an International court. We all know that the Vatican's assets are innumerable, we know that the higher executives of this particular"company" have known for years of these heinous crimes and have simply allowed them to continue by shuffeling the players..... In order for these men not to feel above the most basic of our rules, and those of the God they attest to serve, they must be held responsible. 'Suffer the little children' did not mean molestation and rape. Law should go, the International Courts should be bought in to deal with co-ordinating cases from all over the world and interceding with the Vatican to get some changes made and reparation to the victims. Catholics..those faithful to their Gods ideals should look to themselves and others in their congregation to find the good and real people within their church and not follow like sheep any more, choose your own higher echelons. Stay true to Gods words, but push for changes that will protect you and your families. Remember He hears, sees and knows all, what would He hope you would do.

Joanna, Boston

I'd like to point to one little provision in our great country's founding ideologies. Separation of church and state. To me its pretty simple. File for Chapter 11. No state or federal court should even hear it. The church is not a pays no taxes and as we have all seen, lives by no laws. I don't see how we should sit back and let them get Government funded Chapter 11 protection.

Bankruptcy?????, Jeff

When is the heirarchy and some priests going to realize "the simple laity" have finally found out what is going on and "the children of the church" have grown up. 500 years ago we had a reformation triggered by the selling of indulgences to get into heaven. This is so much worse. Alexander VI would feel right at home with Cardinal Law.

Bill Finn, Pittsford New york

As a Catholic, I believe Law should resign. He has lost his moral authority. I also believe you liberal morons at the Globe are loving every minute of this.

Barry, Boston

Cardinal Law and his immediate underlings, with the notable exception of Bishop D'Arcy and very few others, are liars who have demonstrated little regard for the safety of those whom they minister to. These men have flagrantly violated if not the extent of the law, then certainly the spirit of it, repeatedly and without remorse. Cardinal Law is an evil man, his henchmen Daily, McCormack and others, are evil men as well. Law and the others are just as evil as the monsters that they repeatedly loosened upon their flock. Cardinal Law and his fellow creeps should be facing criminal prosecution, and the RCC should consider Excommunication procedures against them too. Who knows what horrors are to be revealed in the other dioceses around the nation? It's disgusting!

George, Bridgeport, CT

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