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?
Rank-and-file Catholics should speak in the only language the the hyper-politicized leadership of the Boston Diocese seems to understand: cash. When parishoners refuse to support the leadership financially, and the offertory dries up, Law will be unable to ignore the cry for his resignation, as he has ignored the cries of devastated children for decades. His concerted effort to conceal the attrocities these men committed completely negates his ability to act as a moral and spiritual shepherd for a frightened flock. Not only should he resign, but he should be prosecuted for obstructing justice.
Kristin Sciacca, Medford
The AMerican Catholic Church should leave the USA for good. Only 6% of the world's Catholics live in the USA anyway. I was born a Catholic, and I even attended BC High, but I will never beleive in their faith or their organization ever again.
Brendan, Brooklyn, NY
Immediately, the Cardinal should resign and someone completely clean (is there such?) and less arrogant (ditto) be appointed. Turn over the investigation of allegations of past abuses to Legal authorities. Give psychological tests to all seminarians now and in future. Remove those found to be pedophilic. If ranks of priests shrink drastically, allow marriage (nothing new there) and women in the priesthood. It's really not hard. But probably take a decade to recover.
Ann Hewitt, Rockport
We are all adults. We need to take responsibility for all aspects of the functioning of our local church . We need no leadership. We are the leaders. We were too long treated as sheep, following the shepherd. We must now take leadership. Just as we head and run the families that we run, we must run and head the church that we love. We must be the leaders. There are many sould that have been shattered and need to be healed. We need to decide if we need the ornate accumulation of years of material posessions, or do we divest in order to invest in the healing of the slaughtered souls of the priests' sins? We have reached a turning point in our faith where the proof is internal in how we react. Do we need all of these things, or do we facilitate healing? The chioice is ours. Either way, bernie is done. It is done. Over. We love our kids.
The priests that are truly guilty should be punished in the same way a lay person would be punished. Having Cardinal Law step down is not the solution. I don;t know what the solution is but I do know that we must pray incessantly for both the abuser and the victims. We must also keep in mind that Jesus forgave those who put him to death. We must also remember before we pass judgement,"LET YOU WHO ARE WITHOUT SIN CST THE FIRST STONE." Thank you, A devout Roman Catholic
Betty, Harwichport, MA
The church needs to step back. The process of priests serving in a parish should be like that of other religions where the parish selects, interviews and hires for a term the cleric. They also need to look more closely at the methods utilied for acceptance into the seminary. Review the individual thourly and do a complete background check. Also, when these situations occur they should immeadiately remove the individual from the priesthood and begin the process of prosection. The time has come for change. Allowing the parishishes to make major decisions such as hiring and dismissing and having the church step back may help. Also, celibacy should now become voluntary. Scripture notes,"God noted it was not good for man to be alone. So, from his rib he created woman." I also believe, from the ashes, can arise a new and better way. A stronger and more united church. It is now time for the church to learn, listen, reach out, change and act.
John Cena, West Newbury, MA
As the mother of two boys, and a lapsed Catholic, I am heartbroken by what I have seen and heard in the Shanley case. I know neither money or nor an apology would be enough. I can not understand how the shepards could have fed the lambs to the lions. It makes no sense unless they are covering up even worse crimes. Law should be indicted and forced to retire. He has no place in my heart for mercy.
Concerned Mom, Central MA
Every priest or clergy member that is a part of this could resign and get a life sentence and the media would not let the case drop. It's a major crisis and needs to be corrected, but it does not change what my beliefs or the majority of the Christians beliefs that continue to attend Mass every week. I don't have the answers as to what should be done. But I don't see a lot of answers coming from the people trying to crucify the members of the Catholic church other than resignation requests. It doesn't matter who resigns it will not correct the problems that led to this.
Jim Kirchner, Billerica
Two problems: 1) pedophiles are attracted to the Catholic priest scenario because they know they'll be around children, in a position of trust. Proper background checks and screening need to be done to each and every applicant for priesthood. 2) In order to save the church, priests must be allowed to marry. In that way, their natural sex drives can be resolved in a natural way, without the chance of repressing the sex drive and have it reappear as molestation of young boys or girls. Both of these issues need to be addressed immediately if the Roman Catholic church is to be saved. This is a very grave issue. - RD
richard dahlinger, chelsea, ma
The Pope MUST remove ALL Cardinals and Bishops who have participated in the "pattern of denial, obfuscation, payoff, and coverup" immediately. These men have committed offenses that are equal to (and in some instances greater than) the sexual abuse they attempted to manipulate into a forgotten silence. The faithful must insist that this take place. How? Hit them where it hurts. NOTHING into a collection plate, an appeal envelope, charity box, anything UNTIL the cancerous men like Cardinal Law are bounced. Once the Vatican stops getting it cut of the weekly collection it will be forced to act. The current rank of officials have damaged their credibility beyond repair, the trust is destroyed. These men who lead the institution grew up answering the catechism question of why did God create us in his image. The answer, "to know, love and serve Him." These men don't know God at all, do not love Him, and through their actions have done everything in their power to NOT serve him. As the umpire says after three strikes, "you're out!"