Skip to comments.Prelate finds that repenting does not wash away sins for alleged victims (CHURCH SCANDAL ALERT)
Posted on 12/14/2002 1:01:18 AM PST by MadIvan
If Cardinal Bernard Law hoped to bury the sex abuse scandal demoralising America's Catholic church by resigning and begging for forgiveness yesterday, he was soon proved wrong.
Lawyers for the hundreds of alleged victims of priests vowed to press on with their claims for compensation from the Boston diocese.
"This is a monster," said Mr Mitchell Garabedian, a lawyer for some of more than 450 alleged victims suing the diocese. "His resignation is not going to be a magic wand when all of a sudden everything is OK.
"I'm not going away. The victims are not going away."
After Boston, there is only heaven, Cardinal Law joked to well-wishers when he took up his post of archbishop in 1984. It is not paradise, but a form of earthly purgatory that now awaits the 71-year-old prelate.
Atoning for past sins before God is one thing. Confronting victims of alleged molestation in court and explaining himself to a grand jury is quite another.
The opprobrium brought on the church by the Boston diocese's inept handling of the crisis will not be wiped away by the cardinal's decision, long overdue in the opinion of many of his flock, to step down.
From the Vatican, Cardinal Law pleaded for forgiveness for "my shortcomings and mistakes" and appealed for "healing, reconciliation and unity".
As an apology, his statement went further than previous contrition for the "terrible mistakes" he has made.
Yet, while the cardinal lay low behind the walls of the Vatican, alleged victims of predatory priests were shown live on national television renewing their attacks on him, his diocese and the church establishment as a whole.
"As a Catholic, I have sympathy for the devil," remarked William Overly, when asked whether he could forgive Cardinal Law.
Only Senator Edward Kennedy, scion of the city's best known Catholic dynasty, seemed optimistic that the cardinal's departure heralded a change for the better.
"Real closure is far off for the victims," he said. "But today is a first step towards a new dawn in our hearts and in our church."
The Boston diocese, the nation's fourth largest, has been targeted by a barrage of lawsuits from victims of alleged abuse and faces a possible bill for legal damages of more than £60 million.
A criminal investigation into the actions of the church hierarchy is also under way, and Cardinal Law and at least six other bishops have been subpoenaed to appear before a Massachusetts grand jury.
Criminal charges are unlikely, as the statute of limitation has passed and to convict defendants, prosecutors must prove intent rather than simply negligence as a factor in any crimes committed.
Yet the recent release of thousands of diocese documents, many of which suggest that senior clergy attempted a cover-up, has only deepened the church's embarrassment.
"The leadership felt it was more important to protect the church than children," Thomas Reilly, the state's attorney-general, said this week.
Since the scandal broke in full in February, 24 Boston priests have been suspended as the church investigates allegations of sexual abuse.
The diocese is accused of moving John Geoghan, a priest convicted of fondling the buttocks of a 10-year-old boy in a swimming pool, from parish to parish for decades despite being aware of his behaviour.
Another priest, Paul Shanley, is charged with 10 counts of child rape and six of indecent assault and battery.
He is said to have publicly advocated sex between men and boys yet the church appointed him to posts that gave him access to children.
The crisis in Boston has cast a shadow over the Catholic church nationwide. President Bush even raised the issue at during audience with the Pope in May.
I was thinking just the other day...
Have you ever heard of the three secrets that the Blessed Virgin Mary gave to the little children at Lourdes?
The first two were predictions that have already come true and the third is closely guarded by the Pope himself. Every Pope since then has been apprised of it and has declined to reveal what it is.
I am now guessing that the third secret, or prediction has to do with the downfall of the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church and this pedophilia scandal is it and was revealed by Mary at Lourdes those many years ago.
Just a guess.
I must have missed that. Ooops. I'll go back and sit down now.
Ted Kennedy: The 2003 Poster Boy and Spokesperson for the Roman Catholic Church. Sheesh.