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An alleged victim is called negligent
The Boston Globe ^ | April 29, 2002 | Walter Robinson

Posted on 04/29/2002 5:00:20 AM PDT by american colleen

Edited on 04/13/2004 2:07:44 AM PDT by Jim Robinson. [history]

The cardinal's claim, filed in court by his attorneys, is boilerplate legal defense language. But a lawyer who is not involved in the case and has handled other cases involving allegations of clergy sex abuse said last night that the decision to use such a claim in so sensitive a case showed poor judgment.


(Excerpt) Read more at boston.com ...


TOPICS: Extended News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: cardinallaw; catholicchurch; catholiclist
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1 posted on 04/29/2002 5:00:20 AM PDT by american colleen
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To: american colleen
Added Durso: ''From the start, the archdiocese has been incredibly stupid in the way they have handled this crisis. And as hard as it was to do, they have managed to make things worse.''

Does anyone still think Cardinal Law doesn't have to be replaced by a God fearing man of God?

Read "Goodbye! Good Men" by Micheal S. Rose for insight into why this situation was allowed to fester.

2 posted on 04/29/2002 5:04:50 AM PDT by american colleen
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To: catholic_list
Sad, head shaking *ping*
3 posted on 04/29/2002 5:05:45 AM PDT by american colleen
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To: american colleen
Cardinal Bernard F. Law has asserted that ''negligence'' by the boy and his parents...

Incredible! Just when you think it couldn't get any worse...

4 posted on 04/29/2002 5:06:26 AM PDT by livius
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To: american colleen
"..has asserted that ''negligence'' by the boy and his parents contributed to the alleged abuse.."

Why even use the word "alleged"? This is beyond shamefull.

5 posted on 04/29/2002 5:11:03 AM PDT by Icthus
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To: american colleen
Law is free to do what he wants.

Massachusetts law officials bow and kneel to him at their Red Mass.

If it was ANYONE else --except maybe Gary Condit ....

6 posted on 04/29/2002 5:11:52 AM PDT by Diogenesis
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To: american colleen
Unbelievable. This cardinal is obviously unrepentant and totally oblivious to the damage he caused. He's so far off the mark that it makes me wonder if he's an abuser, too.
7 posted on 04/29/2002 5:11:52 AM PDT by Lion's Cub
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To: Lion's Cub
No, I don't think he's an abuser, and I expect if there were evidence of that we'd know it. That said, he is as guilty as the evil, debased priests that he sheilds and has sheilded since he came to Boston.

I think Cardinal Law is a man who is so out of touch with reality he can't even think with common sense.

8 posted on 04/29/2002 5:17:20 AM PDT by american colleen
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To: Diogenesis
Massachusetts law officials bow and kneel to him at their Red Mass.

What the heck is a "Red Mass"?

9 posted on 04/29/2002 5:18:26 AM PDT by american colleen
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To: Lion's Cub
If only by being complicit: yes, he is an abuser, too. V's wife.
10 posted on 04/29/2002 5:23:34 AM PDT by ventana
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To: american colleen;Drango; Saundra Duffy; MonroeDNA; history matters; Palladin; Travis McGee...
Cardinal Bernard F. Law has asserted that ''negligence'' by the boy and his parents contributed to the alleged abuse.

This is beyond OUTRAGEOUS. Spending money on attorneys to trash 6 yr old victims and their families is perpetuating the evil-doing. The only answer is for parishioners to withold offerings until the cardinal comes clean.

11 posted on 04/29/2002 5:24:27 AM PDT by Dr. Scarpetta
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To: american colleen
I think he means commie-infiltrated. Which kinda seems to be the case. V's wife.
12 posted on 04/29/2002 5:24:32 AM PDT by ventana
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To: Dr. Scarpetta
I am beginning to think this is all too polite. How about a public lynching or at least a good tar and feathering? V's wife.
13 posted on 04/29/2002 5:25:26 AM PDT by ventana
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To: american colleen
Sipe said the message that Catholics will take from Law's claim is that ''the cardinal is saying that every Catholic child and every Catholic parent should have been watching out for every Catholic priest.''

This is precisely the message that the use of a 'contributory negligence' defense sends. And, given the Church's reaction to abuse cases and abusive priests, sad to say, it's probably the only reasonable approach a normally concerned parent can take. Never, ever, let your child be alone with any Catholic priest. Insist that there be at least three children and at least one lay heterosexual adult present at all times. The only exception is the confessional, and then only if it's fully separated.

As a lawyer, I appreciate that a 'contributory negligence' defense is normal legal maneuvering. However, in this situation, as many have pointed out, it is remarkably insensitive and in fact may verge on bad faith:

Consider that the Church encourages its members to trust the clergy and to allow priests to work closely with their children. It covers up abuse and then tells people they're negligent in not knowing Father Shanely et.al. are busy buggering little Bobby? If I were the opposing counsel or the judge, I'd come down on the Church's lawyers like a ton of bricks and tell them given the Church's 'unclean hands', the defense is unavailable.

The Church is really at crossroads here in these cases. They have to choose: defend the cases and lose the faithful or restore the trust of the faithful and essentially plead nolo contendere to the lawsuits, insisting only on some reasonable evidence that the abuse actually took place.

It's a hard choice, because the financial liability is going to be huge. Financial damage can be rectified over time, if the Church maintains the allegience of its membesr. On the other hand, if the Church continues to behave churlishly toward the victims of abuse, they will likely lose the cases anyway and lose all moral credibility. Can the Church in America really survive most Catholics believing they can't trust their kids with a priest? I don't think so. Mounting a significan defense to liability only reinforces the perception that the Catholic hierarchy is out of touch with the laity and interested only in personal power. What we have is a large number of men placing personal gain above the honor of the Church. The last time it was this bad, we had the Reformation. I'm not sure the American Church can survive if the people lose all trust in the priesthood.

People will argue that most priests are not homosexuals preying on kids, and that's probably true. But which ones are? How do you tell? It's like seeing a group of young black men dressed ghetto style: maybe 90% are as law abiding and hard woring as anyone, but 10% are thugs. How do you tell which is which. Even Jesse Jackson said, he was relieved when walking at night to see the people walking behind him were white, not black.

14 posted on 04/29/2002 5:30:57 AM PDT by CatoRenasci
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To: ventana;tracer; BornOnTheFourth; Faeroe; Bush2000; Sloth; cynicom; homeschool mama; Izzy Dunne...
Power and arrogance have evidently gone unchecked for centuries. The fact that a 6 yr old boy is being retaliated against by attorneys using parishioners tithes and offerings is WRONG. The church should know the difference between right and wrong.
15 posted on 04/29/2002 5:38:27 AM PDT by Dr. Scarpetta
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To: CatoRenasci
The Church is really at crossroads here in these cases. They have to choose: defend the cases and lose the faithful or restore the trust of the faithful and essentially plead nolo contendere to the lawsuits, insisting only on some reasonable evidence that the abuse actually took place.

In my opinion, if the church believes in morality, it must not hire an attorney to attack a 6 yr old rape victim.

16 posted on 04/29/2002 5:44:07 AM PDT by Dr. Scarpetta
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To: american colleen
The Red Mass is celebrated each year for those in the legal profession including judges and attorneys.
17 posted on 04/29/2002 5:50:48 AM PDT by history_matters
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To: american colleen; frogandtoad; Domestic Church; BlessedBeGod; saradippity; maryz; Jeff Chandler...
THIS IS EVIL! Cardinal Law adds insult to injury. He himself is worse than a sex-offender by using attorneys who attack like this.

Cardinal Law is determined to destroy the Church along with himself. WHAT EVIL!!!

St. Catherine of Siena, pray for us.

18 posted on 04/29/2002 5:52:56 AM PDT by history_matters
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To: Dr. Scarpetta
You make my point more succinctly than I did. Well, I'm not opposed to hiring an attorney and taking reasonable precautions to separate real victims from those who would prey on the Church in its weakness, but no more.

The local archbishop or cardinal should personally visit (unless the victims or their parents do not wish him to) every abuse victim, make sure he or she has whatever counselling and support is necessary and offer generous financial settlments. The Cardinal/Archbishop should diretly and personally acknowledge that the Church breached the trust of the victim and his or her family.

Anything less is inadequate.

19 posted on 04/29/2002 5:53:11 AM PDT by CatoRenasci
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To: CatoRenasci
The Church is really at crossroads here in these cases. They have to choose: defend the cases and lose the faithful or restore the trust of the faithful and essentially plead nolo contendere to the lawsuits, insisting only on some reasonable evidence that the abuse actually took place.

I don't think it is a hard choice... if you are in the business of bringing souls to Jesus.

I keep thinking of Padre Pio during all of this. If these Cardinals and Bishops and Priests cannot imitate Jesus, why don't they look at the life of one of their own who lived during their lifetime - and ask what Padre Pio would do if he were a Cardinal.

20 posted on 04/29/2002 5:53:50 AM PDT by american colleen
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To: american colleen
A timeless message for Cardinal Law and some of the other American Cardinals:

"You are flowers who shed no perfume,
but stench that makes the whole world reek."
St. Catherine of Siena

21 posted on 04/29/2002 5:57:00 AM PDT by history_matters
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To: american colleen
Read "Goodbye! Good Men" by Micheal S. Rose for insight into why this situation was allowed to fester.

I ask you and anyone else who's read the book to post a review on Amazon before they do.

22 posted on 04/29/2002 5:59:41 AM PDT by Aquinasfan
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To: history_matters
It is the every day practice of law. If that is evil then I am sure you too are the beneficiary of such evil for at some point you benefited from the adversarial nature of our courts (e.g. your insurance premiums are lower than they otherwise might be because your insurance company makes use of every possible legal defense it has when disputing claims in court).
23 posted on 04/29/2002 6:00:37 AM PDT by Notwithstanding
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To: CatoRenasci
The local archbishop or cardinal should personally visit (unless the victims or their parents do not wish him to) every abuse victim, make sure he or she has whatever counselling and support is necessary and offer generous financial settlments. The Cardinal/Archbishop should diretly and personally acknowledge that the Church breached the trust of the victim and his or her family.

I'm not holding my breath waiting for Cardinal Law to visit the victims. He's too busy trying to deflect criticism of himself ("poor record keeping") and breaking up those "militant" Church groups that are forming within different parishes in order to formulate a way to deal with the evil pervading the Archdiocese of Boston and the Catholic Church in America.

24 posted on 04/29/2002 6:04:03 AM PDT by american colleen
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To: Notwithstanding
The Church must be better than the everyday practice of law especially in dealing with those who have been abused by priests of the Church and further abused by the negligence or collusion of Cardinals, archbishops, bishops, and other priests.
25 posted on 04/29/2002 6:04:11 AM PDT by history_matters
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To: CatoRenasci
Never, ever, let your child be alone with any Catholic priest.

This is the approach that every parent should take with any man, if your child is under the age of 14 –or even older if the child isn't worldly wise.

It isn't worth the risk.

Certainly the standing policy within the Church should be that any private counseling take place in rooms with glass doors. To do otherwise is irresponsible. At this time, the Church cannot afford even the appearance of scandal.

26 posted on 04/29/2002 6:04:41 AM PDT by Aquinasfan
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To: american colleen
You're right, it shouldn't be a hard choice .... if the Church is really in the salvation business. That's the hard choice, or question: is the Church about God, Jesus and Salvation, as it claims to be, or is it about temporal power and the personal comfort (and apparently pleasure) of the clergy.

This has been a recurring theme in the history of the Church, from the forgery of the Donation of Constantine to the conflicts between Innocent III and Emperor Friederich, to the Reformation and Counterreformation.

The encouraging thing is that the Church has survived through it all, the frightening thing is that they keep getting it wrong and creating crises of faith by the blatant contradictions between the Church's teachings and the behavior of the hierarchy. Someday, they won't be able to survive their own stupidity.

27 posted on 04/29/2002 6:05:35 AM PDT by CatoRenasci
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To: history_matters
This is unfortunate, however it is not all the media and the man's attorney is spinning it to be:

1. As I read it, the plural term "plaintffs" are who were negligent. Thus the victim was never named as negligent, rather it was the parents who were obviously considered negligent.

2. This court document was filed awhile ago - before the media circus reached global proportions. Thus the incredulity of everyone is a little over the top. If Law's attorney had filed this 3 days ago I would be incredulous - as it is, I am simply sad and frustrated.

28 posted on 04/29/2002 6:06:40 AM PDT by Notwithstanding
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To: Notwithstanding
I think I am beyond sad and moving onto despair.

Time to go for a Holy Hour.

Jesus, save us.

29 posted on 04/29/2002 6:09:49 AM PDT by history_matters
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To: american colleen
From the start, the archdiocese has been incredibly stupid in the way they have handled this crisis. And as hard as it was to do, they have managed to make things worse.

Makes you wonder what Cardinal Law's attorney has that passes for a brain.
30 posted on 04/29/2002 6:10:08 AM PDT by Frumious Bandersnatch
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To: american colleen
Read "Goodbye! Good Men" by Micheal S. Rose for insight into why this situation was allowed to fester.

I read it this weekend -- I plan to give it to a friend of my nephew's who was rejected by the Boston seminary. I don't know the kid myself, but my sister does. She says he's very orthodox (which, of course, according to Rose, is a disqualification in too many seminaries).

I had Blute and Ozone on this morning; they had a guy on (Gallagher?) who's associated with that Voice of the Faithful. I have my doubts about him -- he thinks the Church is trying to scapegoat gays and there's no scientific basis to think homosexuals are more likely to abuse children. Blute and Ozone just let him talk; no one asked where the female victims are.

31 posted on 04/29/2002 6:10:30 AM PDT by maryz
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To: Notwithstanding
No, our incredulity is not over the top.

I agree that it's everyday lawyering, but it's really stupid everyday lawyering.

As I pointed out above, because the Church specifically encourages trust in priests and because the Church admittedly covered up for abusers and knowlingly placed them in positions where they had access to children, the Church is hardly in a good legal position to tell victims and their parents they 'should have been more careful' about priests. What the abusers themselves did was a crime, the Church's cover up may or may not be a crime, misprison of felony. The question of civil liability is judged on a different standard. In civil actions, you cannot use your own fraud and bad faith as a defense to your liability for the consequences of your actions. That's what the Church is trying to do. I'm astounded that the Church's lawyer's can't see what any first year law student would consider a 'gimme' issue on his torts exam.

32 posted on 04/29/2002 6:13:34 AM PDT by CatoRenasci
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To: Diogenesis
Massachusetts law officials bow and kneel to him at their Red Mass.

Nobody, NOBODY, NOBODY, NOBODY, "bows and kneels" to the priest at ANY Mass.

You are an anti-Catholic bigot.

33 posted on 04/29/2002 6:19:37 AM PDT by Arthur McGowan
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To: CatoRenasci
Did you happen to see the February 11 National Review? From an article by Ron Dreher:

One parish priest says he will never forget the day he realized his former boss, an East coast bishop (now retired) [anyone know who this might be?], was a true man of God. 'We had to meet with a family whose child had been abused by one of our priests. When we sat down face to face with them and the lawyers, we told them that the bishop had said his first priority was to do the right thing. We told them our investigation had found that the priest was guilty, but that he had never been in this kind of situation before. We had removed him from any further parish involvement. We told them that we didn't believe we had been neglectful, but we wanted to help the family in any way we could, because we recognized lives had been damaged, and we were profoundly sorry. And that was the bishop's position.

"I looked across the table, and the family was crying," the priest recalled. The father said, "Thank you. We never wanted to persecute anybody. That was all we wanted to hear."

I understand Law's lead attorney is a father and a grandfather of, I think, six. He practices with his son.

34 posted on 04/29/2002 6:22:59 AM PDT by maryz
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To: maryz
No, I didn't read that. If the Church hierarchy consistenly responded in this manner, there would be no scandal and there would be a lot less fewer 'abuser' priests around. This confirms my view that this is more a crisis of leadership in the Church than anything else. It's not finding a problem, it's how you deal with it.
35 posted on 04/29/2002 6:27:09 AM PDT by CatoRenasci
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To: american colleen
Was it Talleyrand who said,"It was worse than a crime, it was a blunder." There is nothing worse than a stubborn old man who does not recongize that his time has passed.
36 posted on 04/29/2002 6:33:49 AM PDT by RobbyS
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To: CatoRenasci
I'm astounded that the Church's lawyer's can't see what any first year law student would consider a 'gimme' issue on his torts exam. The first year law students would also know right from wrong, and it seems that immersions in the law strips many of that faculty. The defence is disgusting, but unfortunately in our legal system, it works. Winning is everything.
37 posted on 04/29/2002 6:40:51 AM PDT by RobbyS
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To: american colleen
Cardinal Bernard F. Law has asserted that ''negligence'' by the boy and his parents contributed to the alleged abuse.

Obviously just another case of "Catholic bashing" and entrapement. After all,how could any reasonable person blame a priest for going after a 6 year old boy who looks "hot" to him? I mean,it's not like he did anything truly evil,like have sex with a adult woman,use birth control,or get a divorce.Well,on second thought,maybe this WAS his method of birth control.

Besides,these people are "Princes" and can't be held to the same standards as us non-cult leaders.

38 posted on 04/29/2002 6:48:29 AM PDT by sneakypete
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To: maryz
I had Blute and Ozone on this morning; they had a guy on (Gallagher?) who's associated with that Voice of the Faithful. I have my doubts about him -- he thinks the Church is trying to scapegoat gays and there's no scientific basis to think homosexuals are more likely to abuse children. Blute and Ozone just let him talk; no one asked where the female victims are.

I listen to Imus, so I didn't hear Gallagher on Blute and Ozone. I don't see how Gallagher thinks the Church is trying to scapegoat homosexuals - we never heard a Cardinal address the homosexual problem within the Church until some of the Catholic columnists addressed it - and then of course, we hear it here on FR.

My best friend's husband attended BC High and two of his friends entered the seminary at St. John's about 1976 - both of them left because of the pressure placed on them by the overwhelming number of homosexual seminarians - one of them said it was like living in a gay bar.

Yesterday I had a conversation with a friend of mine who is a former Catholic, went Unitarian and now is agnostic. She has a friend (I know him as well) who is a former priest and is now living in a homosexual relationship (and they have an adopted child [female] but that is another story) - they are convinced that the problem is not a homosexual one. She thinks it is because the seminarians are joining much too young and therefore, their sexual growth is arrested at that age and it is not normal and the result of that is the behavior we are seeing now. Naturally, she thinks celibacy isn't normal. I didn't address the fact that most seminarians are in their 20s, but I did ask her why almost every single victim is a boy - and she did not reply. It is just common sense to see the link.

Personally, I think a lot of these Cardinals and Bishops are afraid of offending the homosexual community - they don't want them picketing outside the Churches and they don't want to be accused of being "homophobes" - horror of horrors! That's what happens when you forget that Jesus' Church isn't supposed to be "pc" - She is in the business of salvation and nothing else.

39 posted on 04/29/2002 6:52:00 AM PDT by american colleen
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To: american colleen
Every day in every way these Clerical Windbags in our hierarchy say Dumber and Dumber things.

Their whole approach is disgusting and mean and unworthy of truly christian people much less "leaders" of the Catholic Church.

But it is good for the People watching this meltdown who had to be convinced of the Nastiness and corruptness of Law and his etherial Collegues.

Always remember that the guy who hires the Lawyers tells them what to do,or they don,t work for him anymore.

As all this Horror plays out we see the real Bernie Law, (The Man Behind The Curtain) and It Ain't a pretty sight.

Law appears to be Morally and Managerially Bankrupt and certainly undeserving of leadership or directing the once vast resources of the diocese of Boston.

Bernie Cardinal Law is a very sad old man who sold his soul for some reason he thought was worth doing so.

Not only does he have no compassion for the victims but he increases his attacks on them with all the power he can muster.

40 posted on 04/29/2002 6:53:44 AM PDT by chatham
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To: RobbyS
There is nothing worse than a stubborn old man who does not recongize that his time has passed.

Well, I think he is probably gone in June, before the Cardinal's meeting - I just wish he'd go quietly.

"It is better to keep your mouth shut and let people think you're an idiot, than to open it, and remove all doubt..."
Mark Twain

41 posted on 04/29/2002 6:57:35 AM PDT by american colleen
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To: RobbyS
I think your reference to Talleyrand is brilliant, not only for the quote itself, which is so apt, but for evoking the Bishop of Autun who represented the clergy in the Estates General in 1789, and played an active role in the revolution, empire, restoration and finally the bourgeois monarchy of Louis Phillipe.
42 posted on 04/29/2002 6:58:00 AM PDT by CatoRenasci
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To: CatoRenasci
Can the Church in America really survive most Catholics believing they can't trust their kids with a priest? I don't think so.

I do,because most won't allow themselves to believe this. We are talking about issues of faith here,not reality. Most people are brainwashed into religion when they are very young,and these are hard chains to break. Especially when you are told over and over that if you break these chains you will spend eternity being tortured in fire by your "benelovent God".

Mounting a significan defense to liability only reinforces the perception that the Catholic hierarchy is out of touch with the laity and interested only in personal power.

That IS all organized religions are about,and they have never really tried to make this a secret. There is not only the personal power acquired by the leaders,there is also the power and wealth acquired by the sect/cult itself. The Vatican is a prime example of this.

What we have is a large number of men placing personal gain above the honor of the Church.

It doesn't matter because it will end up being ignored and forgotten. Most Catholics will never even hear of it,and this is especially true of all the illegal alien Mexicans who are coming into the country now.

43 posted on 04/29/2002 7:00:24 AM PDT by sneakypete
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To: chatham
"Bernie Cardinal Law is a very sad old man who sold his soul for some reason he thought was worth doing so."

My father says the very same. I think he sold his soul for power and prestige in the secular world. Well, he's got the prestige, but not in the way he thought. He now represents each and every evil priest in the Catholic Church.

44 posted on 04/29/2002 7:00:39 AM PDT by american colleen
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To: history_matters
Where do you go to avoid all the dirt?

The clergy may have to wear I.D. Badges which react to good or evil so we can know the good guys from the bad.

45 posted on 04/29/2002 7:01:18 AM PDT by chatham
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To: history_matters
The Red Mass is celebrated each year for those in the legal profession including judges and attorneys.

Seriously? Is it supposed to somehow absolve them of all the legal and moral wrongdoing they have done all year?

46 posted on 04/29/2002 7:03:07 AM PDT by sneakypete
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To: chatham; american colleen
My new guide on this is if the pastor has Perpetual Adoration in his parish, preaches and teaches the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, and loves the Blessed Mother, then he is a good guy. Some on FR tell me that I am naive in this, but it is the best guide I have found. I don't even hazard a thought about the others.
47 posted on 04/29/2002 7:04:56 AM PDT by history_matters
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To: sneakypete
No, just to invoke God's blessing and guidance upon their work. Some need exorcisms rather than blessings IMO.... but never mind ....
48 posted on 04/29/2002 7:07:10 AM PDT by history_matters
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To: sneakypete
Where we disagree greatly is whether this crisis of leadership will turn into a crisis of faith: I think it will, you don't (but it sounds like you think it should).

If I am correct that this will turn into a real crisis of faith, where parents simply don't trust priests with their kids, it will be the end of the Church in its present form in the US. If you can't trust a priest to be alone with your kid, why would you ever give money to the church (which supports said priest) or trust him or those who back him about anything?

49 posted on 04/29/2002 7:08:44 AM PDT by CatoRenasci
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To: american colleen
Cardinal Law: "It all depends on what the meaning of victim is."
50 posted on 04/29/2002 7:11:27 AM PDT by Biblebelter
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