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?
Cardinal Law needs to resign quickly and possibly face jail time, along with his pedophile friends. The "pedophile priests" have destroyed the lives of hundreds of men, and the so-called priests could care less! I find it hard to believe that "this" was not planned decades ago by the pedophile network, to enter the priesthood, so their so-called abstinence from sex would not be questioned; however, it would provide an opportunity for them to "get at" the little children, and have the law (or Cardinal Law in this instance) shield them. I think the pedophiles (i.e., priests) knew that their evil deeds would be kept a secret for decades, due to the shame each victim felt, thereby allowing the statue-of-limitations to run out, and the shaded area of the law to protect them. Why else would the pedophile priests continue to rape and molest little boys for years, without so much as a thought of the destruction they were causing, and lives they were ruining? It is only now we are discovering how difficult it was for the victims to keep silent, all the while slowly self-destructing inside. Nothing could ever make-up for the lives that were ruined in childhood by these pedophile priests!! There should be no statue-of-limitations for these pedophile priests who have committed these crimes against children (who are now adults). Each pedophile priest should be given a life sentence of pain, just as his victim(s) have suffered. Pray for those who have suffered and died from these tragic events, and for those who still suffer, and will live on with the pain inside them from being an innocent victim at the hands of an evil pedophile priest! And for those of you who think that maybe the victims are going too far with their lawyers against the church, you would be singing a different tune if it happened to you, or one of your children...believe me!!
Struggling to Cope, Cincinnati, Ohio
What ever happened to excomunicating those who bring scandle to the church? Now the Cardinal and pope advocate a statute of limitations for sex crimes (sins). Are Catholics to infer that there also exists a set time after which all sin is forgiven? Great! No more need for confession and repentance. The papacy, priesthood, etc. like any secret organization, has been corrupted by their power and across time become a collection of degenerate individuals. They are dedicated to the protection of themselves and the recuitment of like minded creeps. Although I was raised a Catholic I no longer support the church. All priests and the pope must be replced and the entire organization be placed under the supervision of the lay members. Then we can continue worshiping God.
Stan, Fairfield, Ohio
Again the Catholic Church reveals its hypocrisy. On the one hand, they want church and state kept separate and avoid paying taxes and submitting their employees (priests) to the authority of the same legal system as the rest of us. Then, they run to the courts for protection under bankruptcy laws ! I say: we citizens cannot allow them to have it both ways, especially at the expense of innocent children. Block the bankruptcy; let them sell some of the tax free land they've been using as shelters for their pedophilic employees and help the victims. Then let's start taxing them; this investigation has been costing taxpayers plenty.
Paul M, Essex
Cardinal Law's gargantuan ego and sense of self-importance are exceeded only by his sociopathy. He hid these deeds because he wanted to assure his own career path, but even worse, because he doesn't really think that they are harmful or wrong. From the outset he has never exhibited any genuine moral revulsion for the systematic sexual abuse of hundreds of children, mostly boys, but he has worked systematically to hide it for some reason that I cannot fathom.
L. Smith, Winchester
Bernard Law's legitimacy as a moral leader on any issue is gone. It is time for his corrupt administration to end. Catholic priests MUST take a stand with the people of the Church in calling for his removal. To date, the only priest who has publically renounced his vow of obedience to this evil Bishop was summarily removed from his duties amidst dubious allegations of abuse (See the Globe story about Rev. Edward McDonagh at http://www.boston.com/globe/spotlight/abuse/stories3/120102_mcdonagh.htm) Other priests, fearing similar retribution, remain silent. We Catholics in the Boston Archdiocese are a leaderless people. Is it any wonder that many Catholics look to organizations such as Voice of the Faithful for leadership in response to the scandal? Even they have so far failed to call for Law to resign. I'm not sure what the answer is, but its time for all of the Catholic people out there who are disgusted by the abuse scandal to make their will known. Write a letter or send an email to your pastor, and to Law, and to your local papers. Make some phone calls. Participate in a demonstration. Our collective voice calling for Law to step down needs to be heard loud and clear!
Elizabeth, West Bridgewater
As a non-catholic looking at this crisis I offer this encouragement to all sincere catholics: The Church as Christ founded it and revealed it in scripture is still triumphant. The Church as administered by Rome is nothing more than a corrupt counterfeit from the head to its foundation. However, If this same incident were to happen in a public school institution and a principal were to assign and reassign personnel as Mr. Law and the rest of the bishops have done the Superintendent and school board would have relieved him/them immediately. If the school board and Superintendent wouldn't do their job the whole district would deserve to collapse under the weight of its own corruption. Those who want a legitimate school would come out from the corruption. How much more evidence do you need to see the man of lawlessness at work in this man-made institution?
W.D. LaPorte, Kansas
Why can't Catholoics see what everyone else can see? Law is arrogant. He was an enabler and now all the Catholics who do not demand his resignation are enablers.
s a practicing Catholic who sees the Church as being much larger spiritually than any of its leaders, I have been very much demoralized by the scandal of priests not living up to their vows and of the hierarchy's purported 'coverups'. In many ways, Bernard Cardinal Law has lost his moral authority to lead his diocese. But give him his due - it would have been easier to resign than to go through the humiliations he has endured. Because of this horrendous handling of priestly dereliction, most of whom are not pedophiles but pedarists, the entire Church (including the laity!)has gone through hell this year. But we should not forget all the good that this Cardinal has done for those most in need. We live in a sex-saturated society where anything goes and nothing is immoral. Well - some things are very immoral and some are both immoral and unlawful from a civil point of view. To address the finances of the CHurch and also the issue of immoral and unlawful priests, I offer the following: 1. GO to the source of where priestly formation occurs: the Seminaries! What in God's name is going on in some of these places? That is the domain of the CHurch leaders so they should get on the stick and resolve the problems endemic in these places. 2. I thought that any non-profit institution could not be sued for more thnan $25,000. So - instead of paying people to 'keep quiet' regarding a molestatin charge, the church administrators should tell anyone who makes a charge against a priest to report it to the civil authorities and have it prosecuted there. If found guilty, the CHurch should have to give them $25,000 plus they should have to pay for all psychological counseling etc. that the individual might require. Have them send the bill to the Chancery. The priest has to be accountable for his actions; if he has face prison time, so be it. He should not be protected by the hierarchy. 4. If I were the Pope, I would send all the bishops who had anything to do with 'coverups' to work in a mission in some very poor country (how about the remote villages of the Amazon?). Then they would see what being a Christian is all about. Conclusions: AM I angry? Yes, I am but I also know too many wonderful priests who have devoted their life to Christ and His Church. Instead of beating up the CHurch, let's pray for it!!!
Brenda E. Breen, Boston, MA
Law once said he would not step down because a father should not abandon his family in a time of need. Well Mr. Law, a father should leave his family, or be removed from it, when he allowing his 'family' to behave the way yours has. You are a disgrace and should be held personally and financially responsible for your actions. Declaring financial bankruptcy makes sense for you though, you are already morally and spiritually bankrupt, you may as well complete the set.
I consider myself a non-catholic. I have for the past 5 years. These new revelations about the church in Boston confirms my descision. I am also a gay person. God did not exclude anyone from his love. The church should examine itself. Lionel
Lionel, Kansas City, MO