The furor over Law

The furor over Law

There’s a big furor over Cardinal Law celebrating one of the nine “novemdiales” Masses for Pope John Paul at St. Peter’s Basilica this week. Some people are claiming that it’s a slap in the face of Scandal victims to put Law in such a prominent role. I don’t think so.

For one thing, each day the Mass is offered by a particular community in Rome and today’s was that offered by the communities of the three major Basilicas of the city (apart from St. Peter’s). Obviously, the Mass should be celebrated by one of the archpriests of the basilicas. The other two archpriests are already celebrating Masses on other days, representing other groups in the traditional list, leaving only Cardinal Law. It was natural that it should fall to him. He is not being “honored” by the Vatican by this role. It is his job by virtue of being archpriest. Neither is he a representative of the American Church, and thus suggestions that another American cardinal should have celebrated are out of line.

  • Don’t forget, Dom, when Law actually tried to take action against Shanley, the same people who talk about “rubbing salt into the wounds” (the Globe, the Protestant-in-all-but-name laity, the gay lifestyle shills) were screeching like banshees in horror that Law would dare call the hip young priest who talks to the kids to account.  So Law backed off.  But now he’s the Archfiend of the Archdiocese (when that role is not being filled by the callous, vacillating, imperious O’Malley).

  • Dear Dom,

        There is no doubt that Law misgoverned his archdiocese to an absurd degree. But it is truly incredible how he has been demonized by the local lame stream media et alia. He was a weak and imperious man, but he is not a bad man. I know for a fact that he hardly lives the life of a prince in Rome. In Massachusetts, we have allegedly Catholic politicians that ardently champion the destruction of human life via abortion and stem cell “research” and vote for gay “marriage” but Bernard Law is the prince of evil. When he dies, will these people demand he not be buried but instead be immolated? 

  • That some of the so-called do the least amount of damage, and still have to show his face in public, which is something he’d probably rather not do. So, in a sense, being visible is a type of punishment. On the other hand, to the average Catholic, it has the appearance of a reward for good behavior, thereby causing a genuine scandal, and the people in charge should have known better.

    Oh, and speaking of knowing better, you have protesters being led by people who not only don’t know what they’re talking about, but don’t believe that knowing what you’re talking about is really necessary. SNAP was better off in the 1990s, when they didn’t focus so much on theological harangues and stayed more or less on message. That all changed when they got in cahoots with VOTF, probably for the free publicity.

    Look where it’s getting them. They get to look as stupid as the other guys.

    Though he does sound a bit cavalier about it, I tend to agree with John Hearn. Victims of genuine trauma can’t spend the rest of their lives being poster children for some group’s press conferences. Sooner or later they have to be healed and move on. I have some ideas of my own about that, and who would be qualified to do justice to the task.

    If that sounds like a plan, you know where to find me.

  • The same people who criticized Law are the same people who have criticized the Church’s position on sexual matters for decade…and they are the same people calling for the democratization of the Church…they don’t want healing…they want perpetual war…..

  • “they don that she and many members of the gay community knew that Fr. Shanley was doing this. She expressed sorrow for keeping it secret. But no one appears to have investigated to find out why no one else reported it to the police. Also, the newspaper reporters ,esp. from the Globe and Herald, were covering the “Street Priest” story at that time in the 1960s and 1970s. Are we supposed to be naive enough to think that there were no reporters who knew what was going on?  When I asked this question of Howie Carr, he said that the reporters would be in trouble and might lose their jobs if they reported this kind of information at that time. He apparently didn’t see this as an act of cowardice on the part of the reporters who could have spoken up.  But he is doing quite a devastating job on Cardinal Law now, despite the fact that Card. Law wasn’t even in Boston at the time that Rep. Elaine Noble, the gay community and,no doubt, some reporters knew what was happening but kept silent when they should have reported what Fr. Shanley was doing with the kids by bringing them into gay bars. And , of course, Fr. Bob Bullock,Fr. Shanley’s supervisor and best friend, knew exactly what Fr. Shanley was telling the kids and their concerned parents when he took telephone calls for Fr. Shanley in the office they share. He knew that Fr. Shanley totally supported same-sex sex acts. But, in the Ch. 5 Documentary, he said it never crossed his mind to look into what Fr. Shanley was doing with the kids!
    Today, critics are saying that the people who knew what Michael Jackson was doing with kids should have spoken up and should have had the courage to report the incidents to the police. Why aren’t the people from SNAP holding accountable those who could have reported what Fr. Shanley was doing back in the 1960s and 1970s, well before Cardinal Law arrived in Boston? Can you imagine if they named a reporter from the Globe or Herald who knew but wouldn’t report it to the police? Or if they named members of the gay community who knew but failed to report it?
    Has anyone faulted Rep. Elaine Noble for not reporting it?  No, it’s too easy to focus all the blame on Cardinal Law. That anyone else be held guilty is not part of their scheme. In fact, when Fr. Bob Bullock died, in his Globe obituary he was praised to the heavens by these same people despite the fact that, when asked about his job of supervising Fr. Shanley, he acknowledged that he really didn’t supervise him! Why did the members of SNAP praise him?

  • The fact that some SNAP members didn’t go to Rome for the Pope’s funeral but managed to fly to Rome to protest this Mass says a lot about them.

  • Excellent observation, Dymphna….as for ammunition…even if we don’t give them any…Satan will….

  • The headlines from the Italian Newspaper “La Repubblica” read:

    Messa con poche proteste per Law
    picool and with it in the modern church. I mean, like, gay-bashing is so squaresville, man. Besides, they throw really great dinner parties, and not being invited would be sooooo…. nowhere, man.

    That, and CNN may be watching.

  • Alice, excellent points (but I still think you should paragraph your remarks so that they will be easier to read!).

    Part of that documentary retold the story of how Shanley was caught molesting boys way back in the late 60s and early 70s and the cops and police chief begged the parents to press charges – and they would not. The chief pointed out if Shanley couldn’t be prosecuted, he would be free to roam around and molest others. Which is of course what happened.

    I’d also like to know about all the lawyers and judges who mediated all the payoffs over the years… don’t prosecute, we’ll get a monetary settlement and all go our own ways. Including the rapist.

    Not a big fan of Cardinal Law (for other reasons) but it seems he is the apex of our loathing for everyone, including ourselves, who neglected their duty as a human being during this whole sordid episode.

  • I cannot imagine being so dumb as not to report sexual abuse of your kids to the police.  I have never understood that one. 

    If you don’t report it, no wonder the perpetrators get away.  Duh.

    I know that in some places (many) the church was in cahoots with the cops, but I would have sworn out a complaint anyway, for sure, to get it on the records.  Accumulated records of abuse tend finally to get noticed.

  • I think Cardinal Law doesn’t deserve my pity.  What he did is what he did and the rest of the bishops, archbishops and cardinals who did the same thing deserve the same thing—public scorn.

    They simply need to be more of what they claim they are.  1) holy, 2) leaders.

  • Clohessey and Blaine were on KMOX here in StL this morning. Same babble, “hurtful, closure, etc..”  They were trumpeting the fact that Cds. Egan, George and Mahony didn’t attend Cdn. Law’s Mass – in their words a protest.  At present mahony has over 500 cases pending in his Archdiosese. Will SNAP attack him with the same energy as they have done to Law? We’ll see.

  • Bishops need to know that if they don’t want this to happen to them, they’ve got to quit playing golf, pacifying all and only the *right people* and vacationing in the far east and instead—manage their dioceses.  This means knowing what goes on in the parishes and with the priests.  This means knowing your people, not only knowing *of* them.  Yes, I know once a priest is ordained, you get to keep him even if he’s a creep, but that’s no reason to let him go unmanaged in all his creepiness. 

    Bishops have a job to do.  Let’s see them start doing it!

  • “Bishops have a job to do.”  The question in the Boston Archdiocese now is: Will Archbishop O’Malley refuse to reappoint Fr. Walter Cuenin to be pastor of Our Lady Help of Christians Church?
    In Our Lady’s Parish Pastoral Council report,  3/16/05, it states:
    “Update from the Pastor-Walter said that the Archdiocese has not yet finalized his reappointment due to their backlog with the reconfiguration. He said that he is delighted to have Paul(Fr. Paul Kilroy) here to share in the sacramental duties of such a large parish.”
        Hopefully Fr. Cuenin will not be reappointed. Not only did he have John McDargh, the openly gay theologian from Boston College, instruct the Young Adult Group on “Sexuality and Spirituality” this past Sun. night, but you can be sure that, if reappointed, just as he did last June, Fr. Cuenin will be planning on taking his parishioners into the Gay Pride March and Festival this June, joining with the Jesuit Urban Center, the Paulist Center, and, now, the followers of Fr. David Convertino at St. Anthony’s Shrine. They had all joined together a few months ago to honor Sister Jeannine Gramick and her mission to win approval of same-sex sex acts in her New Ways Ministry/Catholic Parent Network organizations which are in total agreement with PFLAG,GLAD, GLBT,etc.
      If Fr. Cuenin is reappointed, it will be very clear that Archbishop O’Malley will be doing it with full knowledge that Fr. Cuenin is leading his parishioners into total acceptance of same-sex sexual behavior, acceptance of civil unions and gay marriage. I don’t think Archbishop O’Malley would do that to the Catholic families in Newton who are effected by Fr. Cuenin’s influence. It would be a tragic scandal. Therefore, I expect that Archbishop O’Malley will not reappoint Fr. Cuenin as pastor of Our Lady Help of Christians.
    (Coleen, I tried harder to use paragraphs this time!)

  • While it’s part of Cardinal Law’s job to say Mass during the novemdiales, should he have even been appointed to such a position in the first place, especially with the knowledge that he’d have to say one of the memorial Masses?

    It seems that his appointment was the late Pope’s way of thanking him for his support on social issues. So was keeping him on various important Vatican committees. But does somebody who fouled his episcopal nest as badly as Cardinal Law did really merit being retained on those committees, let alone receive a cushy appointment to a basilica? Didn’t he demonstrate a failure (or refusal) to use his power for the common good, as the Church so often teaches?

    The fact that Cardinal Law would even receive such an appointment demonstrates that Rome is pathetically isolated from the substancial and legitimate moral outrage surrounding the man’s failures.

  • Alice, it will be telling of Bishop O’Malley’s tenure here in Boston as to whether he re appoints Fr. Cuenin or not. If he doesn’t, imagine the firestorm that will ensue. But the facts are out there (thank God for the internet, anyone with a modicum of interest in something has tons of info at the touch of his keyboard, what a gift we have) and Fr. Cuenin has been leading the sheeple to the edge of the cliff for a long time. I’ve even viewed some of his talks on the BC ‘21st Century’ website. I guess now I can figure out what ails Father C.

    Thanks for making your posts (which I always enjoy for their information) a bit more readable! I guess I must be getting old and my eyes hurt (do I wear the distance or reading glasses to see this??) when I read a lot of small letters all put together. You could hit ‘enter’ between paragraphs to make a whole line space though!

  • MC, I’m with you, I would report abuse as well as probably beat up the abuser myself. However, I wonder if this is in light of what we know today… society was quite different 30 or 40 years ago and so much was swept under the rug for fear of embarrassing the family name in front of the neighbors.

    I babysat for a wealthy and well known lawyer back in the early 70s when I was a teenager and the lawyer used to make advances to me all the time which culminated in him, while driving me ‘down the cape’ (NE lingo) to nanny the kids for a couple of weeks,  actually pulling over on a deserted road and trying to touch and kiss me… while speaking suggestively to me. I hopped out of the car and ran about a 1/2 mile to a store for protection. He pursued me and begged me to get back in the car and that he was sorry and nothing further would happen. I GOT BACK IN THE CAR!! (power of adults over a 13 year old) but I did tell my mom that night when I could get to a pay phone. She made me stay! I’m pretty sure she believed me but I think she was torn with doing the right thing by her child and risking social embarrassment or just ignoring it and going on with life. Since I needed a job, I kept babysitting for this family for a few more years, enduring the lawyers advances (he was a drunk and home a lot while the wife was out – the kids were young and went to bed early).

    Anyhow, I think the mindset was very different back then, as I said. I think a lot of adults (and kids) cannot fathom sexual child abuse and find it hard to believe it exists in others since it is so far fetched and disgusting to them. Plus there is the embarrassment factor – even today we hear stories of accused priests where the parishioners rally behind him and shun the accusing family.

  • Some of you people obviously don’t get it. A part of the healing process is to reconize how you felt and try to make sure that NOBODY ever has to go through the same thing.

    Cardinal Law would not apoligize until he was caught. Anybody that purposely commits a crime against children, or allows others to commit these evil crimes should not be allowed any public or leadership positions, especially in a church.

    By following him and protesting him in public is a way of showing him and his cronies that people don’t forget crimes against children. Some members of the church wish that this would blow over so that thaey can go back to making these crimes secret.

    If you pay attention you would know that this is not a thing of the past and is still happening today and will continue into the future unless people stand up and tell the degenerate leaders of the church that they are not afraid of them and will not tolerate this kind of behavior from them or anybody.

    For people who do not believe this has happened, eventhough both sides have admitted to it. Tends me to believe either you are guilty of protecting pedophiles or you might be a pedophile yourself. The safety of our children must come first.

  • Ironman:

    What comes first is the saving of souls. Protecting the innocence of children, and recognizing their bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit, must be placed squarely within that context. Part of the rhetoric in this controversy has nothing to do with the children at all, but with using them as a pretense for promoting dissent from Church teaching and practice. If the protesters had that perspective, their credibility might be noteworthy. But they are being led by those who have other ideas. So their anger is not only being misplaced, but exploited.

    And THAT, ironman, doesn’t protect anybody.

  • By the way, Ironman, I speak as one who had a close call with a priest while on a retreat in high school in the early 70s. The accusations in your latest post had best not extend to me.

  • No one here is saying they do not believe this happened. Accusing people in this discussion of being pedophiles or protecting is just more of the same inability to actually have a conversation without resorting to insults. If your own arguments are so weak that you must resort to such lame rhetorical tactics, then you probably should just refrain from joining the discussion.

  • David,

    I am sure if a terrible crime like this happened to you, you would be singing a different tune.
    If you want to throw around what the church teaches. Doesn’t the church teach us not to judge others and if anybody harms the littlest of any child, that they shuold tie a millstone around their neck and jump into the water.
    and on that note,David, those protesters are protecting everybody.

  • David,
    what about the young children in grade school who doesn’t realize what is going on and therefore can’t have a close call.

    Did you report the priests behavior so that it wasn’t repeated on anybody else.

  • Ironman:

    “I am sure if a terrible crime like this happened to you, you would be singing a different tune.”

    We’ve never met, and somehow you presume to see right through me.

    Actually, I’m pretty upset about it as it is, and have long considered the infrastructure of the Church to be corrupt. This scandal is just one facet of it. Back to the incident, they gathered us in a circle before we left and told us that we shouldn’t go into too much detail about the retreat; after all, people like our parents “might not understand.” I told them anyway, and about the incident. From what I remember, I handled myself okay.

    You have to remember the times. It was in the wake of the whole “hippie” thing. No one could have imagined such behavior, and people who wished to preserve traditional values had to fight the “do your own thing” crowd that was getting a good head of steam in the Church.

    As to young children in grade school, statistics show that over 90% of these incidents are against adolescents, specifically adolescent boys.

    As to who is to judge, what Christ actually said can be variously interpreted as “As you judge others, so shall you be judged.” We judge people all the time, for example, when we make a decision as to who is a good or bad choice for a spouse. The entire passage calls for us to take inventory of ourselves—taking the beam out of our own eye, as it says—before applying “fraternal correction” to others. The latter is in the Gospels as well.

    My point is not that the protesters don’t have a legitimate complaint, because they do. But the example being set by VOTF and other such groups is misdirected, and doesn’t take any lessons from the Church’s history, specifically the true reformers of the Faith.

  • “Cardinal Law would not apoligize until he was caught.”

    Who the heck was he going to apologize to if no one knew about it? OR are you saying that he met with abuse victims and refused to apologize to them?

    I think you should hunt down all the lawyers and judges and parents and cops who let the abuse slide into oblivion… there’s plenty of them as well. They should be held just as accountable as any prelate should be held accountable.

    >>>For people who do not believe this has happened, eventhough both sides have admitted to it. Tends me to believe either you are guilty of protecting pedophiles or you might be a pedophile yourself. The safety of our children must come first. <<<

    Silliness. Everyone knows the abuse happened, everyone is appalled and irate and no one wants it to happen ever again.

  • Alice, I’m like Colleen; I love your posts and thank you for trying to paragraph more since my eyes aren’t so tough.

  • colleen,

    “I think you should hunt down all the lawyers and judges and parents and cops who let the abuse slide into oblivionestigate with the promise that they would turn over any evidence that they found over to the authorities. If they found evidence they transfered the degenerate without no warning to the parents in the new parrish and if someone came forth in that parrish, they were told they were the only one and the vicious cycle continued. If the priest confessed to church officals, he was sent to a church run institution for molesting children and then returned to active duty as a priest. Even after the priest was institutionalized any victims reporting were still told that they were the only one.

    In the united states the church admits to 10,000 victims of 4,000 priests( the accurate number is probably much higher). Most of these victims were told that they were the only one.

    Also, the churh officals did tell authorities that there was no substance to the allegation, even when the priest admitted to it.

    You can try to blame everyone else that you want. It was the churh officals that obstructed justice. These are the same officals that you support everytime you donate to the church. VOTF and SNAP would not exist if the church wasn’t run by criminals. If it wasn”t for these 2 groups the church officals would have gotten away with this and it you wouldn”t have a clue.

    I am sure that God will punish the criminals as well as there supporters on Judgement Day. Say hello to Cardinal Bernard Law.

  • ironman:

    apparently you might be in the dark yourself. Just as many parents did not file abuse charges as those who did file charges. Then we have the hush money paid out… take the money and don’t pay attention to where the perp ends up. Lots of dirty hands there.

    I’m not blaming anyone for the abuse but the abusers themselves and I hold the prelates to a higher standard than I do anyone else – so yes, I am livid that some of them took the easy way out (as did my own mother – see my above post) but there were lots of other ways the perps could have been stopped and prosecuted along the way – those people who either didn’t do their jobs thoroughly or who looked the other way themselves are dirty as well.

    VOTF came into existence AFTER the abuse allegations were made (although VOTF was the brainchild of priests before the abuse came into focus it was the scandal that gave VOTF the reason to come out from behind the curtain). SNAP certainly wouldn’t exist if there were no abuse, that is true. But don’t sell SNAP down the river by pairing them with VOTF. And for some reason, I thought the Boston Globe was the one who outed the scandal here in Boston? Not VOTF or SNAP. FWIW, National Catholic Reporter and The Wanderer were printing abuse stories starting years ago – no one paid much attention to either one of them.

    At the judgement, each one of us will reap the reward for our behaviour, that’s for sure.

  • Ironman sez “By following him and protesting him in public…”
    Err, I believe that’s called stalking.  Stalkers are criminals.
    I wasn’t privy to all the goings-on, but I reckon John Paul gave absolution to Cardinal Law a long time ago, in which case God has forgiven him as well.  Now Ironman tells God He was wrong to do so – not a smart move.  In fact, going up to a Hell’s Angels gang leader and questioning his parentage would be pure genius in comparison.

    Ironman really needs to pay attention when he says the Our Father, particularly the part about “forgive us… as we forgive those”  It’s never occurred to him that “those” = Cardinal Law.  Since Ironman implied he hopes Cardinal Law is sent to hell, everytime he says the Our Father, in reality he’s praying to be sent to hell himself.

    So, is hating Law really all that worth it?  The simple pragmatic view would be if you really can’t stand the guy, just steer clear of him as much as possible.  Considering he’s exiled to Rome, this should not be a problem.  Hey, even going the extra step by being magnaminous in this case costs nothing.  But going a quarter-way around the world just to hound him til the day he dies, that’s just plain sick.  And politicizing a Mass – which is what SNAP did – is a sacrilige.

  • People treat Law as though he’s the worst case of covering up in the history of the Church. And really, if the problem is half as bad as is reported, we ain’t seen nothin’ yet. VOTF went after Law because he was an easy target. Most of their initiatives have little to do with the victims, and is more about challenging Church teaching, or some form of power grab. That hasn’t solved a thing. Notice also how most of their complaining is about events in Boston, as though the entire universe turns on what happens there.

    Do they go after Weakland for taking hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay off somebody? No. Do they remember how twenty years ago he was quoted as saying that some of these teenaged boys seduce the priests? No. (It’s in Jason Berry’s book; I ain’t makin’ this up.) Do they go after Cardinal Mahony, whose efforts at spin-control and legal manuvering make Law look like a damn choirboy? No.

    If VOTF was the big hero certain people say it is, they would have opened a field office in LA by now. Law is in a job where he can’t do any more damage. Mahony’s just gettin’ warmed up.

    You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

  • People who protect other criminals from being prosecuted are also criminals.

    Remember where all the “Hush Money” comes from. The more they pay out, the more the donations come in. I hope all the protecters of pedophiles in California have deep pockets because Mahoney is going to need all the help he can get.

    Also, nobody mentioned all the priests who signed the petition to have Bernard Law removed by the Vatican. Only to resign and have the Vatican appoint him to a better position. It sounds like some very serious hand washing was going on.

    Also again, If this happened to you, your child or a member of your family I am sure that you would be singing a different tune.

  • As long as Law is in a position of power he will always be able to cause more damage.

  • He holds the ceremonial pastorship of a tourist church in Rome. I hardly think that qualifies.

    And once again you assume that no one here has ever suffered abuse. I don’t go about trumpeting, but I have. So stick that in your pipe and smoke it along with all your assumptions.

  • Ironman, let it go. It is obviously eating away at you. Your anger isn’t punishing Bernard Cardinal Law, it’s punishing you.

  • let it go. It is obviously eating away at you. Your anger isnate>

    The American media is just starting to realize that an American cardinal is not going to be elected Pope, as seen in this headline: “An American pope just isn’t in the cards/US high clergy eligible to be chosen, but world views nation as too powerful already.” Yet, I think they miss the point a little. It’s not that the US is seen as too powerful, but that we’re not that important. Sure we’ve got lots of cash and lots visibility, thanks to our media, but we’re just too chaotic and not quite strong enough in the faith to trust the entire Church to an American. I’ll give my sense of what I think the cardinals will be looking for in another post, but it’s not a camera-happy, doctrine-sliding, politician American they’ll want.

    Unfortunately, our media is so self-centered that they are just starting to get glimmerings of the idea.


    2005-04-11 11:32:27
    2005-04-11 15:32:27

    2005-04-11 13:52:41
    2005-04-11 17:52:41
    But Dom – the Italian people are “not quite strong enough in the faith” anymore either. I think if that is the criterion then all of North America and western Europe is out.