Apr 15, 2002
The scandal in the Catholic Church widens, with calls for the resignation of the archbishop of Boston, Cardinal Bernard Law. Documents just released show that Cardinal Law knowingly sent a pedophile priest, Father Paul Shanley, to new parishes where he would be in contact with children.
Father Shanley had been the subject of accusations of sexual abuse of boys since at least 1967. Yet Cardinal Law and other church officials kept him in positions where he was in regular contact with children. In 1990, they sent Shanley to California, recommending him as a priest who had “no problems that would be a concern to your diocese,” despite his long history.
As late as 1990, a bishop wrote that if Shanley “came back [from California to Boston], I don’t know what we could do with him.” Not only did the leaders of the church know the man had a problem, they chose to do nothing about it, allowing him contact with youngsters until 1995.
If this case is too well documented for the church to shove under the rug any longer, there have been many other cases of priests molesting boys that it is still trying to keep hidden – including by paying money in exchange for the victim’s agreement not to reveal anything. Everything was kept secret while church officials moved such priests from state to state, from parish to parish, perhaps sending them for treatment, but not preventing them from having contact with children.
What the Catholic leaders say in their defense is that the vast majority of priests do not molest children. That is undoubtedly true. Yet, in order to protect the church’s absolute authority, the Catholic hierarchy has been willing to let more children become victims.
This Catholic Church hierarchy, which sets itself up as a moral authority, is arrogant enough to use their pulpits, their money and their political weight to impose their views on abortion, birth control and other reproductive issues upon all of society.
Perhaps this misogynist hierarchy should be looking to clean up the moral cesspool in its own house.