I didn’t get a chance to see Bishop Lennon’s press conference this afternoon, since I was seeing The Two Towers. (An excellent movie, by the way. Full review to follow.) So I will have to go by what’s being reported.
He has evidently decided to show everyone that the Archdiocese of Boston is not adrift and that he has a firm hand on the tiller. To that end, he has ordered diocesan lawyers to drop everything else they’re doing and settle the lawsuits. He doesn’t want anyone to have to go to trial. He expects fair compensation will be made from insurance compensation and from the sale of non-parish property. That should quiet the lawyers like Garabedian and MacLeish who smelled blood in the water with Cardinal Law’s resignation. The message is “Play nice and fair and you’ll get your big, fat one-third cut of the settlement.”
Heading off another criticism that had been leveled at Cardinal Law, Bishop Lennon also said he would meet with every victim who requested a meeting. He will listen to them and offer an apology. I think that simple gesture will go a long way toward giving people what they wanted. Some didn’t want to hear it from Law who they saw as the architect of their suffering, but perhaps coming from someone else it will have different meaning.
The Boston Globe is so funny in its little attempts to make Voice of the Faithful something it isn’t:
- The scandal erupted 11 months ago, and only increased in its intensity in the ensuing months. Criticism against the archdiocese reached a crescendo last week with a fledgling lay Catholic reform group, Voice of the Faithful, as well as nearly 60 priests within the archdiocese urging Cardinal Bernard Law to resign.
As if VOTF’s little letter signed by 70-odd people had anything to do with the resignation. The cardinal himself said his decision to resign came before their decision to urge him to step down. The 58 priests publicly telling him to resign probably had much more effect, and even that is likely less than the media would have you believe.
The article also includes an implicit rebuke against Garabedian for his insinuation that Lennon may be tainted by the Scandal:
On Tuesday, two of the lawyers who represent more than 200 of the alleged abuse victims defended Lennon after another attorney raised questions about whether Lennon did all he could have in the past about the scandal.
In a letter to archdiocese lawyers, attorneys Roderick MacLeish Jr. and Jeffrey Newman said they had not found anything in their review of more than 10,000 documents that suggests Lennon played a role in placing known molesters back into parish ministry.
In fact, the lawyers said, church documents show that Lennon was involved in the process of defrocking at least three priests who were accused of sexually abusing children.
They are showing the wisdom of Solomon in comparison to Garabedian. They may be hyenas, but he’s just an attack dog.
Another interesting part of the story involves a priest begging for the archdiocese to remove from ministry a priest he recognized as a menace to, at least, the faith of the people.
- “For 22 years, this man has been transferred from one parish to another—something like 17 times—but no one has ever faced the real problem. The man is sick and needs help,” the Rev. John McNally wrote in 1973. “Why must we always place the immediate accommodation of the priest above the good of the church? Why should so many people have to be abused and insulted and alienated from the church, just so that we can give this man a place to sleep?”
Well said, and it should have been said about so many others. Perhaps it was and we don’t have the brave words of those priests written down to read today.