Archdiocese airs list of priests accused of sexual abuse

On Thursday, the Boston Archdiocese announced publication of a web listing of clergy accused of sexual abuse of a child. BCI acknowledges the pain that hundreds of victims of sexual abuse by clergy in Boston have experienced and also understands there was a fair amount of outside pressure on the archdiocese to release this information. At the same time, BCI also feels compelled to offer a few of our own reactions to both this specific announcement and certain comments from critics of the initiative.  Notice the clear “Opinion” marking on this post.

The Merits of this Effort

First, BCI wishes to acknowledge the merits of this initiative. The sexual abuse of children by clergy was a terrible thing to have occurred, the harm to people in many cases irreparable, and the scandal was horrible. This initiative to post names of priests accused of sexual abuse to bring comfort and additional closure to victims has been underway for some time and required a great deal of work to get every piece of information correct. Even one error could be devastating to the reputation and vocation of an innocent priest. The reason for the effort was aptly summarized by Cardinal O’Malley in his statement:

“Having met with hundreds of survivors, I know firsthand the scars you carry. And I carry with me every day the pain of the Church’s failures.  I express once again my sorrow for your pain and my apology for any way the Church and its clergy have failed you,” said Cardinal Seán O’Malley in the written decision document published with the list.  “My deepest hope and prayer is that the efforts I am announcing today will provide some additional comfort and healing for those who have suffered from sexual abuse by clergy and will continue to strengthen our efforts to protect God’s children.”

The above being said, there are a few aspects of this where BCI has issues and concerns.

1) Release of Names of Priests Publicly Accused with Unsubstantiated Charges

BCI understands the basis for publishing names of priests accused of sexual abuse and found guilty, and agrees with that.  But BCI struggles to understand why the Archdiocese felt compelled to publish names of clergy who were publicly accused of sexually abusing a child where the allegations were found unsubstantiated by the Review Board or where the priest was acquitted after a canonical process.  BCI looked at the websites of other dioceses such as Chicago, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia and could not find information disclosed about priests who faced public accusations and were cleared. If it is there, we could not find it.  Here is how the Boston archdiocese explained the decision to priests whose names were published who fall in this category:

“Our hope is this effort will be helpful to you in providing an official, clear and easily accessible statement that the complaint against you , which was the subject of previous publicity has been found unsubstantiated…

We believe that posting this information about cases such as yours separately from the other cases listed above will allow us to clarify that the past complaint against you has been found unsubstantiated, while also remaining consistent with our commitment to augment our present policies with regard to providing information about Archdiocesan clergy accused of abuse.”

That is one side of the story, and perhaps clergy who faced accusations that were made public and were cleared find this listing of benefit to clear their name.  But, what happens for those Boston priests for whom past publicity has died down and for whom wounds of a false accusation have healed who did not want their names published like this? Why do other dioceses not publish this? BCI has heard of at least one priest who faced unsubstantiated public charges for whom the appearance of his name on this list is deeply troubling and reopens old wounds unnecessarily.

In civil law, a person is presumed innocent until found guilty. Where else in secular society do we find that someone who was accused of wrongdoing and found innocent has their name published publicly in a database as accused and found not guilty?  Are public school teachers, police officers, lawyers or medical workers improperly accused of abuse or some other crime but found innocent placed on a public list for their entire lives for the whole world to see?  For what civil crimes or situations does that happen? Has the right balance of disclosure vs rights of the priests been struck here?


2) Odd Wording of Press Release

The headline reads, “August 25, 2011 – Archdiocese of Boston Launches Web-Based Publication With Respect to Its Clergy Accused of Sexual Abuse of a Child.”

(Braintree, Mass.) August 25, 2011… As part of Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley’s ongoing commitment to protect children and rebuild trust in the wake of the clergy sexual abuse crisis, the Archdiocese of Boston today launched a web-based publication with respect to its clergy accused of sexual abuse of a child (www.bostoncatholic.org).  The Cardinal’s decision to publish this information is detailed in a letter to the people of the Archdiocese (copy attached and available on the website) along with an open letter to survivors of sexual abuse and an open letter to the clergy of the Archdiocese.

Exactly how does the archdiocese publishing a listing of clergy accused of sexual abuse “respect” its clergy? Call BCI obsessive about grammar if you will, but if you were a priest publicly accused of sexual abuse who was cleared, how does the archdiocese launching a web listing that includes your name with an unsubstantiated charge “respect” you?  Why not just say “Archdiocese of Boston Launches Web Listing of Its Clergy Accused of Sexual Abuse of a Child”?

3) Misplaced Criticism by Attorney General Martha Coakley and others

According to the Boston Globe, Attorney General Martha Coakley and advocates for clergy abuse victims complained that this disclosure listed only those priests who had already been publicly accused, and omits the names of dozens of accused priests from religious orders and other dioceses, as well as those who left the priesthood before accusations were leveled againt them.

The reality as conveyed in the article is that Cardinal O’Malley omitted the names of religious order priests and those from other dioceses because the Boston Archdiocese does not investigate or resolve allegations against them. It is not “shameless hairsplitting” as SNAP complained. And how does Attorney General Coakley justify complaining about lack of disclosure of information that falls outside of the scope of cases the Boston archdiocese manages and deals with, when she apparently turns her own head the other way on pursuing local matters like the Partners Healthcare price-fixing case, which we described in this post as having been ceded to the U.S. Department of Justice?  BCI humbly suggests the Attorney General re-read Matthew 7:5.

And why is there no effort by Attorney General Coakley to have disclosure of the names of public school teachers who have abused children?   This article on LifeSiteNews says that according to Charol Shakeshaft, researcher of a little-remembered 2004 study prepared for the U.S. Department of Education, “the physical sexual abuse of students in schools is likely more than 100 times the abuse by priests.” According to the 2004 study “the most accurate data available at this time” indicates that “nearly 9.6 percent of students are targets of educator sexual misconduct sometime during their school career.”

George Weigel, writing in First Things in 2010 said:

The sexual and physical abuse of children and young people is a global plague; its manifestations run the gamut from fondling by teachers to rape by uncles to kidnapping-and-sex-trafficking. In the United States alone, there are reportedly some 39 million victims of childhood sexual abuse. Forty to sixty percent were abused by family members, including stepfathers and live-in boyfriends of a child’s mother—thus suggesting that abused children are the principal victims of the sexual revolution, the breakdown of marriage, and the hook-up culture. Hofstra University professor Charol Shakeshaft reports that 6-10 percent of public school students have been molested in recent years—some 290,000 between 1991 and 2000.  According to other recent studies, 2 percent of sex abuse offenders were Catholic priests—a phenomenon that spiked between the mid-1960s and the mid-1980s but seems to have virtually disappeared (six credible cases of clerical sexual abuse in 2009 were reported in the U.S. bishops’ annual audit, in a Church of some 65,000,000 members).

Remember that number–six credible cases of sexual abuse by priests were reported in 2009 out of 65 million Catholics.  In New York City, Archbishop Dolan shared word on his blog that the “rate of sexual abuse among public school teachers is 10 times higher than that of priests.” The statistics were from a NYS Special Commissioner of Investigation report that substantiated 78 abuse cases by teachers in 2009, and 73 such cases in 2010.  There were 78 cases in just NY City Public Schools in 2009, but 6 across the entire Catholic Church nationally.  Where is the problem, really?  Why does Martha not insist that similar work be done in Boston Public Schools or across the state, and that a list of accused teachers be published?

On March 12, 2011, the NY Times published a report about widespread abuse problems in more than 2,000 New York state-run homes for the developmentally disabled. Despite a state law requiring that incidents in which a crime may have been committed be reported to law enforcement, state records show that of some 13,000 allegations of abuse in 2009 within state-operated and licensed homes, fewer than 5 percent were referred to law enforcement.

One might argue that is New York, not Massachusetts. Here in Massachusetts, in 2007 then-U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan reported on his study of 11 years of records at the Massachusetts Disabled Persons Protection Commission. Sullivan found “very concerning neglect and abuse trends”, especially sexual abuse, in state-supported vendor-operated group homes for the disabled. In the report, he said:

“Unfortunately, after reviewing data from the Disabled Persons Protection Commission, our office did note some very concerning neglect and abuse trends in Contract Vendor operated community residences, as compared to the ICF/MRs and State operated community residences. These neglect and abuse trends, particularly sexual abuse, were of great concern to our office and shows that residents in our community homes are at a greater risk of being abused and/or neglected.”

What is Martha Coakley doing about the “very concerning neglect and abuse” of the disabled in state-supported homes?  Nothing that we can find reported publicly.

This 2001 report from the Guttmacher Institute says, “Almost one-third of females and nearly one in 10 male high school students in Massachusetts say they have experienced sexual abuse.  Where is the outrage?  What is Martha doing about this?  Nothing that we can find reported publicly.

4) Misplaced Criticism by SNAP, BishopAccountability and Lawyer Mitchell Garabedian

They complained about 91 accused priests omitted from Cardinal O’Malley’s list.  Of the 91 accused priests omitted from the Cardinal’s list, 62 are dead, have never been publicly accused of abuse, and have never been investigated by Church officials, and 22 faced accusations that could not be substantiated.

C’mon.  It sure sounds like nothing will ever be good enough for SNAP and the lawyers, and they will never be satisfied.  Why bother kow-towing to these folks?

SNAP has their own problems, like issuing a press statement Aug 10, 2011 to attack a falsely accused priest after he has been legally exonerated and the alleged victim found to have fabricated claims. (“The defense [for Rev. Borowec] produced evidence at trial that demonstrated the complaining witness fabricated the charges and was seeking attention with intent to obtain money from the church. Prior to trial, the prosecutor suppressed evidence regarding the complaining witness’s mental health history and prior false allegations she made against another priest”).

Then there is attorney Mitchell Garabedian complaining that three people on his list of priests with abuse allegations against them were not on the archdiocesan-published list. The Globe reports:

Church officials, underscoring the complexity of compiling such a list, said that abuse allegations against three of the individuals on Garabedian’s list were found to be unsubstantiated. But Garabedian said today that the Church made financial payments to settle the accusations against all of the priests on his list.

A reasonable person might ask, why did the archdiocese make a payment to settle an unsubstantiated allegation in the first place?  And if both sides know the accusations were unsubstantiated but payments made, who is working towards recovering those payments and the associated lawyer fees paid to Garabedian?

Here is another excerpt from the piece by George Weigel (“Scoundrel Times)” in First Things:

Yet in a pattern exemplifying the dog’s behavior in Proverbs 26:11, the sexual abuse story in the global media is almost entirely a Catholic story, in which the Catholic Church is portrayed as the epicenter of the sexual abuse of the young, with hints of an ecclesiastical criminal conspiracy involving sexual predators whose predations continue today. That the vast majority of the abuse cases in the United States took place decades ago is of no consequence to this story line. For the narrative that has been constructed is often less about the protection of the young (for whom the Catholic Church is, by empirical measure, the safest environment for young people in America today) than it is about taking the Church down—and, eventually, out, both financially and as a credible voice in the public debate over public policy. For if the Church is a global criminal conspiracy of sexual abusers and their protectors, then the Catholic Church has no claim to a place at the table of public moral argument.

The above is what BCI thinks.  Do we dare open a can of worms by asking what you think?

ps. Today, August 26, is the last day to vote in the Catholic New Media Awards. BCI has been nominated in several categories. To vote, click here, then click on the link to register, give a valid email address, go to your email account and click on the confirmation link, and you will then be able to vote. It will take you only a minute to vote on your favorite Catholic blog(s)!

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69 Responses to Archdiocese airs list of priests accused of sexual abuse

  1. Fr. Bill says:

    Cardinal O’Malley’s ‘Corporate Church’ might be surprised to find they are liable for ‘DEFAMATION OF CHARACTER’!

    ‘Shark-fishermen’ toss chum in the water to attract sharks … Corp Sole has done just that for the likes of Garebedian.

    Also this is yet another example of how the RCAB Corp. deals with critics / Whistle Blowers .

    Good luck to Monsignor Deeley as he jumps into the bloody, churned waters !

  2. Fr. D says:

    What the brown bag (small letters on purpose and worthy of the moniker) deserves to receive from his priests is 200+ requests for excardination in Monday’s mail.

    Bill had it right, he did nothing buy chum the waters and we all know that ANY priest is simply a phone call away from effectively ending his career.

    Is it not enough that the clergy can no longer effectively count on the Archdiocese for, really, anything, but now have the Archdiocese effectively place them on notice that if we even receive something “from left field” that you will be on our “list” for life. Pleasant thought…. On second thought, he deserves 250+ requests on Monday morning……last one standing, hit the light switch…..and now on to pleasant subjects, like trying to convince the few faithful left that “and with your spirit” and “like the dew fall of the Holy Spirit” is the CORRECT translation for the Mass??????? Its all approaching the Ripley: Believe it or not stage.

    • DHO says:

      Fr. B and Fr. D, I am totally with you on this. Indeed, I have a dear friend and neighbor who was that only a call away. Indeed, it was a challenging time for him; however, his deep faith and loving family and friends stood by him because WE believed in him and his unfailing devotion to the priesthood and the people he serves. Of course, he was found innocent! He’s a senior priest and still serving parishes that are in need of a good and decent priest. Yay: now he gets to start explaining why he’s innocent all over again!

    • LazarusTable says:

      I’m sure it was unintentional, but in using that moniker in that way you offend literal brown bags which carry food to nourish people, especially the weary.

    • enoughisenough says:

      Has the current archbishop substituted Through the Looking Glass for his Bible? Things do get curiouser and curioser. From the pew if appears he has no regard, respect or sense of responsibility for his clergy. It would be interesting if petitions to excardinate occur because priests want to continue in their calling …or parish keys are dropped off at the ‘Pastoral Center’ by demoralized clergy.

      • Fr. D. says:

        Gee…you should be one of his priests…in your late 40′s or 50′s looking at his future with no hope of support after retirement….that is, IF he makes retirement at all after some disgruntled parishioner “recalls in a dream” how the pastor molested him 30 years go….

        I am beginning to come to the conclusion that the brown bag is a loss cause and because he cannot see himself a success in Boston, he takes the other tack, and accepts as many disasters as he can to effective “clean the slate” for the new guy….

    • TheLastCatholicinBoston says:

      And on that note Padre…
      Any priest who can offer The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in Latin will never be out of work. Perhaps you should voluntarily end your V2 ‘career’ and begin your vocation.

      • Fr. Bill says:

        WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY A V2 ‘CAREER’?

        IT MAY BE A LAME ? BUT I SIMPLY MISS THE POINT.

      • TheLastCatholicinBoston says:

        Fr. Bil,
        The faithful simply desire the sacraments, maybe a little spiritual direction. A vocation implies answering a call from God. A career implies some type of financial plan with an ultimate desired conclusion. You’ll find little compassion for your career problems with the laity. We do however have a vested interest in the health of your vocation.

        It seems the latest ‘hit list’ from the diocese indicates they care deeply about neither.

  3. Michael says:

    The grand jury … a system set up several hundred years ago (Magna Carta) … was set up to do exactly what BCI suggests ought to be done with unsubstantiated claims. The Grand Jury process is secret … designed specifically to protect the innocent. Even Martha Cokely knows that no one should have his name/reputation defamed by false accusations. I am shocked that the Catholic Church (through the leadership of Cardinal O’Malley) is unwilling to give the most obvious and most basic moral protection to priests who have been wrongly accused. THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS. The Cardinal and anyone else who helped decide this, ought to be ashamed. But sadly shame has left our society (including our Church leadership). Fear of not being politically correct has taken its place.

  4. qclou says:

    “Jim”
    this posting is one of the most significant [IMHO ] that you have written in the time I have been reading this blog.
    You have raised some very significant questions about the publishing of unsubstantiated names in the ‘LIST’ ,
    I also agree with the post regarding the Grand Jury concept of our legal system .
    Is there such a thing in Canon Law ?? if there is , why was it not invoked ?

    The rapacious greed of Garabedian and his colleagues/cronies is unbounded and they seize any and every opportunity to pursue more $$$.

    From the beginning of this awful story, I have believed that if the RCAB had relied on the provision of MA law for the protection of charitable organisations that a maximum benefit is $20K, the entire matter would have quickly disappeared since the multimillion $$ payouts would not have happened and the ‘gasoline’ on the water spread of piling on would not have occurred either. [ Certainly, greed has dominated much of the furor and hype ]

    the data you have researched and posted here on the minuscule number of REAL problems within the Catholic Church in USA is never discussed.in the media nor the public perception of licentiousness in our clergy.

    Yes, ANY incident of child or [adult ?? ] abuse by a cleric is wrong, sinful and hateful, but look at the number of opportunities , you cite 65,000,000 Catholics in the USA !!

    And the data on educators , oh well, I guess 10 times the incidents would be just too much work to dig into, so let’s let it go until the next opportunity to start a media storm is needed.

    as they say, just my thoughts,
    thanks for reading !

    and PLEASE keep up the great work of producing factual info for us all.

  5. Mike says:

    Here in Delaware, the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales released a list of priests credibly accused. Many were dead and could not defend themselves. One priest whose name was not on the list is in the database at BishopAccountability. Also, nowhere in that listing is there any note that any accusations against him could not be substantiated.

    Our diocese just emerged from bankruptcy proceedings precipitated by abuse allegations and a two-year window for civil litigation. I am positive a few of the cases would not have been proven had they gone to trial, but the diocese settled all of them rather than spend the money to defend men who maintained their innocence. From a business standpoint, that made a lot of sense, but I wonder what message it sent to the men who were looking for the diocese to come to their aid.

    I keep waiting for our school districts in Delaware or anywhere to release lists of teachers accused of abuse over the last 60 years, along with all of their teaching assignments. The continued treatment of the church and its priests, when compared to other institutions and denominations, astounds me.

  6. Anne Shea says:

    I don’t know whether it is a technical malfunction or that someone has taken your blog to heart and taken down the site, but the link is not working. I fear it is the former rather than the latter.

  7. Mack says:

    The link worked for me.
    I agree that publishing the names of priests who were innocent is unnecessary and painful to them. I would think that a bishop would really take that to heart while also trying to help the victims of real abusers.

  8. jbq2 says:

    This is a very good analysis of the situation. It appears that the “center of the hurricane” in regard to sex abuse occurred in Boston. It also appears that this is not by accident. Frs. Geoghan and Shanley “blew the lid off” the “troubles”. Cardinal Medeiros started the problem and then Cardinal Law was sent in to “cover it up”. Martha Coakley is “fanning the flames”. This is an out and out attempt to destroy the Catholic Church. .Radical women, of whom a majority are Catholic, are in the forefront. If you read Malachi Martin, you can see this all in perspective. You also have to understand that busing started in Boston and targeted Irish Catholic neighborhoods and once again Irish Catholic pols and the archdiocese were in the forefront. Boston is an ongoing problem in the attempt to integrate the Church and society and don’t forget the Jesuits. Was it the “devil or the deep blue sea”? We’ll know when and if “Irene” hits Boston.

  9. mary says:

    I totally agree that priests should not have been listed who have been exhonorated. It’s another swipe at them and a hard one at that.

    Unlike jbq2 however, I believe this problem has been ongoing for many generations….that’s how the culture was kept so subversive.

    Poor Martha is poorly advised…did anyone send her a copy of this blog?

    • Angry Parish Council Member says:

      I think Martha’s actions in this situation are wrong and rather hypocritical. I’m sending a copy of this blog post her. I believe her email is:
      martha.coakley(at)state.ma.us.

    • Michael says:

      Martha is no idiot. She knows exactly what she is doing (and choosing not to do). Nothing she does is unintentional. She is as calculated as any politician. Her Achilles heal is her arrogance as witnessed in her internationally embarrassing senatorial loss to a playboy.

  10. Karen says:

    I would not have listed priests who’s claims were proven to be unfounded, and can only pray that Cardinal O’Malley’s intentions were honorable. At the very least, I would have solicited the opinion of the exhonorated priests and/or given THEM the choice as to whether or not their names should be published. I suspect that anyone who wants to exploit the situation going forward for personal or financial gain will now have the additional advantage of using a name of one previously accused priests to add credence. Fr. Bill, Fr. Dave, and all of the priests here, please know that I pray for you all and truly wish I could do more to improve your situations. May you all stay strong and be eternally rewarded for your perseverence through the persecution! You ARE supported by the the faithful – we need you and appreciate you!

  11. LazarusTable says:

    In the Archdiocese of Boston, Jesus has once again stood before Pilate. But it’s different this time. Now Jesus seems to be saying his kingdom IS of this world, and he sure as heck hopes his followers will fight to keep him from being handed over to Pilate.

    Jesus has once again stood before Pilate. And judgement has been renderd.

  12. Gabriel Austin says:

    I continue astonished that Cardinal O’Malley is considered to be a pious and holy man. Perhaps he is; but his actions belie this epithet. He comes across as a cover-up man. Have we not had enough bishops avoiding their responsibilities?
    The “jolly old Irish bishop” is a role that has worn out. One has but to consider the business in Ireland itself.

  13. A Seminarian says:

    This is a great piece and thoughtful piece by BCI. However, there is one misleading statement that has led to some comments that are misunderstanding what was released.

    The cardinal released the names of priests against whom allegations were unsubstantiated IF the names were in the PUBLIC DOMAIN. His statement specifically states that he did NOT release the names of priests with unsubstantiated claims if the allegation was NOT IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN.

    This is a very important point. Many of the comments suggest that he “outed” priests as having allegations against them that were unsubstantiated. That is FALSE.

    He also did it in a way where these priests with the unsubstantiated accusations were on a different list. That shows some forethought to try to not associate them with the other priests who were convicted, etc. This sets up a way to bring some “public closure” to the public information out there about the priests’ removal.

    Overall, let us pray for all our priests, especially for those that have been victims of false allegations and for all those that live in the fear of a false allegation. Let us also pray for those who were the victims of sexual abuse, for whom this announcement must be as painful to “relive the wounds” as much as it is for the priests who have been falsely accused. As much as it annoys me to read outlandish statements by Garabedian, SNAP, Bishops Accountability and others – we wouldn’t even know of these organizations if real children of God weren’t abused by awful priests.

    • Seminarian,
      Thanks for the positive feedback. Though we did mention that point about the names being of those priests publicly accused with the allegation unsubstantiated, there was one place in a sub-header where we did not make that clear, so we have now corrected that. We apologize for any confusion.

    • Mack says:

      Thank you, Seminarian, for pointing out the public domain aspect. That is an important point, and I am thankful that the cardinal did not release the names of those who have not been publicly accused.
      Still, I do think that it only adds further pain to the innocent priests who were falsely accused that their names were put out again now, even if on a separate list.
      Civil law in MA allows the sealing of criminal records under certain circumstances even for the guilty. All the more should the innocent be protected from further ruin of their reputation.
      http://www.arnellaw.com/CM/Records/Criminal-Records.asp

    • Concerned Catholic says:

      Seminarian –
      Everything you say is correct about Thursday’s release of info. O’Malley didn’t “out” anyone who had an unsubstantiated allegation. However the unfortunate policy of the US Catholic Church since 2002 has been to put out a press release everytime a “credible” allegation is received before it can be investigated and substantiated or deemed unsubstantiated. The reason so many names of unsubstantiated are now public, and part of the list Thursday, is because of this policy.
      This is unfair to the accused. They should be privately and quietly removed and supervised for 1-2 weeks while a speedy investigation takes place both by law enforcement and by the church. If the allegation is unsubstantiated they should be returned with no press release.

    • DHO says:

      You raise a good point, Seminarian and I thank you for your explanation. Your bold and honest response gives me hope. However, I don’t believe that this public domain stuff is going to make my dear friend, who is an ‘unsubstantiated’ senior priest, feel all warm and fuzzy. Hmmm, I’m wondering if Cardinal Sean gave these guys a jingle to let them know ahead of time that this was going to print? You know: bring them in for a cup of tea, or something stronger, and give them the news face to face. What a lack of courage and leadership! I’m sick.

      Please know I will pray for you and your vocation!

  14. A Seminarian says:

    I forgot to include the link to the John Allen story today. Like he did in his good book on Opus Dei, Allen did a good job of presenting factual information and perspective from multiple perspectives / viewpoints.

    Central question: “How should a bishop balance the compelling interests of child protection, transparency and healing the wounds of survivors and their families, against the rights and morale of his own priests — for whom the bishop is supposed to be not merely a manager, but a father and a brother?”

    Well stated. Here’s the full story: http://ncronline.org/blogs/all-things-catholic/omalley-puts-down-new-marker-abuse-crisis

    • JRBreton says:

      AMDG

      While comparison with other entities may indeed reveal an animosity to the Church, still the fact that over 100 priests abused children here in Boston appals me. Think about it. The implication here is that the Archdiocese harbored a subculture of moral depravity for many years. Surely the outrage should focus on the causes, the persons responsible. Do we continue to idolize Cardinal Cushing, for example, or do we look upon him as a cause of the present evils. Why are we so reluctant to look on our local history objectively? Surely there is a pervasive culture continuing to the present which refuses to face objective criticism. Could is be that priestly sex abuse rooted in that underlying culture?

      • Michael says:

        I am not justifying any Archbishop, Bishop or priest’s actions (and many, many people knew of these problems long before the public — including many many priests who had a moral obligation to interfere in the scandal before it got this far out of control) … in any event … to answer your question:
        Surely the outrage should focus on the causes, the persons responsible.

        Don’t forget that much blame can be directly attributed to lawyers — both the Rogers law firm (that made millions “representing the best interests of the Church” and gave piss poor advice to Cardinal Law [and whatever law firm preceded them]) as well as the lawyers for the initial victims — who agreed to gag orders and confidentiality agreements. Such things (gag orders and confidentiality agreements) helped to cover up the problem and ensured that complicit with the piss poor advice of “psychologists” (who claimed that these priests could be rehabilitated) the lawyers would be able to return and cash in on the problem years later — as they did. Wasn’t it the same lawyers (who twenty-five years ago agreed to gag orders to cover up the problem) who raked in massive amounts of money for “protecting” the “victims” in these recent legal settlements?

  15. rf5580 says:

    Cardinal O”Malley should hire Boston Catholic Insider as a consultant.

  16. Jack O'Malley says:

    With respect to the second point of your post, I wonder if there is another possible interpretation of the phrase.

  17. DBP says:

    One of the fundamental principles of Catholic moral theology is that one cannot do a “wrong” in order to achieve a “right;” that is, the ends never justify the means.

    To get bottom feeders like Garabedian off his back, and possibly to achieve some unclear other “good,” the Cardinal decided to again besmirch the names and reputations of men who had already been investigated publicly for crimes they did not commit!

    The fact that they had already been in the public eye in no way excuses their inclusion on this list. If anything, the fact that they had already suffered publicly by being unjustly accused should have mitigated against their inclusion.

    The great heroes of the Church, her martyrs, gave witness to Truth by standing up to those who would violate it, regardless of the personal cost. It gives me great pain to acknowledge that my Cardinal Archbishop is too weak to be the martyr we clearly need at this point in our history. It gives me even greater pain to realize that, not only is he unwilling to stand up for Truth if it costs him anything personally, but that he’s also quite unconcerned about the well being those clerics who have been entrusted to his care.

  18. Fr. Bill says:

    TO ‘SEMINARIAN’
    IN BOSTON: NO PRIESTS WAS EVER ABLE TO VIEW HIS PERSONEL FILE !
    CONSEQUENTLY ALL KINDS OF GOSSIP ‘LEAKED INTO THAT FILE + THAT FILE BECAME FILES I.E. SEVERAL OFFICIALS HAD THEIR OWN FILES??? THESE FILES WERE NEVER CULLED AND PRIEST FILES WERE MIXED WITH EACH OTHER BECAUSE OF SIMILAR LAST NAMES … THESE FILES IGNORED CANON LAW AND WERE LITERALLY A MESS AND MOST UNPROFESSIONAL. MANY OF THESE WHO ADDED THEIR PERSONAL OPINIONS TO THESE FILES WERE NOT PROFESSIONALY QUALIFIED TO MAKE THE STATEMENTS. OFTEN IT WAS CLERICAL JEALOUSIES AND CAREER CLERGY WHO CONTROLLED THESE FILES !

    TO THIS DAY A PRIEST CAN NOT ACCESS HIS OWN FILE !

    THE OFFICIALS THREW ALL KINDS OF INFO ON SCRAPS OF PAPER INTO THESE FILES …

    IT WAS THE PREVIOUS ‘RED HAT’ WHO PUBLICIZED THESE FILES … IT WAS ALSO HE AND O’MALLEY WHO CONTINUE TO HIDE SOME FILES !!! IT WAS THE RCAB WHO WAS THE PUBLISHER OF MANY SLANDEROUS STATEMENTS.

    MY DEAR SEMINARIAN I HOPE YOU WILL LIVE AND MINISTER IN A CHURCH THAT AS A PRIEST YOU CAN TRUST WITH A BISHOP WHO IS A TRUE SPRITUAL FATHER TO HIS PRIESTS.
    BISHOPS HAVE THROWN MANY GOOD MEN TO THE WOLVES FOR THE SAKE OF $$$ AND PR !!!

  19. Fr. Bill says:

    As I continue to reflect …

    It does seem that placing THE name of an unsubstatiated on such a list is a grave violation of the priest’s canonical rights to privacy and a good reputation under canon 220 of the Code of Canon Law, as well as your civil rights.

    I think it would be good for those so offended to send a letter to the diocese, asking that their names be removed immediately for such list in accord with your canonical rights under canon 220 and that therevshould be issued an PUBLIC apology. If they refuse to do so, THESE PRIESTS certainly have the right to pursue canonical recourse to the Vatican on this matter. THESE PRIESTS certainly have the right to pursue civil recourse as well.

    This is a great concern for all the clergy tin Boston. With this decision by the Archdiocese, they have clearly indicated that they are willing to ignore canon 220 and make public the names of clergy even when the allegation is unproven…and as we all know even the public notification of an allegation can cause grave harm to the ministry and reputation and privacy of accused clergy.

  20. Fr. Bill says:

    For those who need the Canonical reference:

    Can. 220 No one is permitted to harm illegitimately the good reputation which a person possesses nor to injure the right of any person to protect his or her own privacy.

  21. Warren Goddard says:

    The Archdiocese could greatly assist parants by revealing the names of homosexual priests.

    • Bob of Newton says:

      Whoa! Priests who are non-practicing homosexuals or only those who actively practice homosexuality? Identifying the first category is meaningless because they have not done anything wrong and are not responsible for the way they were created by God. Identifying the second category open up the Church for a ton of lawsuits from those identified and that is why priests who are active homosexuals have no fear of being kicked out of the Church. And BTW, these boys are as well know to their supervisors as were those who were abusing kids!

      • TheLastCatholicinBoston says:

        Total and absolute mythology.
        I’m a golfer…but I don’t actually Golf.
        There is no category one.
        If you mean former homosexuals say it.

  22. Fr. Bill says:

    Brother Warren:
    I HAVE THE PRIVILEGE OF KNOWING AND WORKING WITH GOOD PRIESTS WHO CLAIM A HOMOSEXUAL IDENTITY YET THEY LIVE A TRULY SELF EFFACING MINISTRY IN TRUE CELIBACY !!!
    WOULD YOU WANT THEM HARMED?
    REMEMBER WHAT JESUS SAID TO THE SINNER-WOMAN … NEITHER DO I CONDEMN YOU … NOW GO YOUR WAY AND AVOID THAT SIN …
    I HAVE WORKED IN A CORRECTIONAL SYSTEM FOR THE CRIMINALLY DANGEROUS AND SEXUALLY DEVIANT … THE VAST MAJORITY OF PEDOPHILE OFFENDERS WERE MARRIED PERSONS!
    LET US NOT HAVE ANOTHER ‘WITCH HUNT’ TO BURN HOMOSEXUALS !!! MANY TURN TO JESUS FOR GUIDANCE AND FORGIVENESS OF ALL THEIR SINS … THEY NEED TO FIND US TO BE LOVING BROTHERS AND SISTERS WHO JOIN THEM IN THE SPIRITUAL BATTLE AGAINST ALL SIN + EVIL.

  23. Fr. Bill says:

    PLEASE REMEMBER THE 8th COMMANDMENT:
    THOU SHALT NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS … I AM REMINDING MY BISHOP AND HIS ENTIRE CURIA AND HIGH PAID TEAM OF SEXPERTS !!! { opps I mean experts … Mary G / O , JIM AND ALL THE NEPOTISTIC ASSISTANTS …

  24. TheLastCatholicinBoston says:

    A dead priest who was simply accused has his name in lights as a pedophile and active homosexual priests enjoy support and anonymity.

  25. Fr. Bill says:

    LET US NOT INCITE A HOMOPHOBIC WITCH HUNT !
    NOT ALL PRIESTS OR RELIGIOUS WHO MAY CONSIDER THEMSELVES HOMOSEXUAL ARE LIVING AN ACTIVE LIFE-STYLE, MANY ARE ASSISTING OTHERS TO REMAIN VIRTUOUS AND THEY TRY TO ENLIGHTEN THE CONFUSED AND FEARFUL … NOW ANY PRIEST LIVING A SINFUL HIDDEN LIFE AS WITH ANY MARRIED OR LAY PERSON THEY MUST ASK GOD FOR THE GRACE TO REMAIN CHASTE!
    JESUS WELCOMED THE SINNER … HEAR HIS WORDS … COME TO ME YOU WHO ARE HEAVY BURDENED …. !!!
    PLEASE DON’T BE LIKE THE RCAB CHURCH WHICH NO LONGER CELEBRATES OR PREACHES THE SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION … HOW EMPTY DOES THEIR CALL TO COME HOME ECHO WHEN ALL THEY DO IS CONDEMN + EXPELL!

    I THINK DEAR, DEPARTED+ GENTLE DAVID THORPE RECOGNIZED THIS TOO … OUR LEADERS NEED TO REMEMBER JESUS WELCOMED , DINED WITH AND ENCOURAGED THE SINNER ! WAKE UP SIMPLE PRIESTS + LOFTY MITRED ONES … WELCOME THE SINNER WITH A FORGIVING EMBRACE!!!!

    • TheLastCatholicinBoston says:

      Stop YELLING.
      Its called confession. If a man considers himself a ‘homosexual’ he should show more charity toward the creature he is. Confess your desires and activities and live your celibate vocation or leave. Don’t share it, celebrate it or flaunt it, its SIN you fool.

  26. Boston Catholic Insider says:

    Readers, we suggest you keep your comments focused on the topic of the post.

  27. Fr. Bill says:

    DEAR DHO + SEMINARIAN …
    IT IS YOU WHO ARE CONFUSED … IT IS THE RCAB OF BFL AND ‘FRIENDS’ ENCORAGED BY THE LIKES OF FRS, CONNOR AND CONNOLLY WHO DUMPED THESE FILES INTO THE PUBLIC FORUM … THE VAST MAJORITY HAD NOT BEEN PREVIOUSLY PUBLICIZED !!!
    YES IT WAS THE BISHOP{CARD. LAW} AND ASSOCS WHO EXPOSED MANY UNTRIED, UNCHARGED AND UNSUBSTANTIATED CASES IN THE FIRST PLACE + NOW O’MALLEY REPEATS THAT INJUSTICE AGAIN!
    DO YOU GET THE POINT?
    NO MATER WHAT SPO’M SAYS HIS ACTIONS CONTINUE TO VIOLATE THE RIGHTS OF HIS PRESBYTERATE !

    • Bob of Newton says:

      Hi – I do not doubt what you say because I am without knowledge of the secret records issue. However, why sit back and take that baloney? There is little or nothing left for your retirement, your congregation diminishes in size every week, and you see the archdiocese being taken over by a highly paid group of people who could not function in the real World in any capacity. Blow the lid off that can of worms and your fellow clerics will be forever grateful for your efforts.

  28. I notice today’s Globe has an article about past sexual abuse of young women tennis players in Danvers by a male former tennis star and coach.

    http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2011/08/28/former_tennis_star_coach_bob_hewitt_accused_in_abuse_of_young_girls/?page=4#

    Several women have come forward and said they were raped as teenagers. Essex County prosecutors believe a local victim is credible, but the investigation has stalled, Where’s the outrage by Martha? Where’s Mitchell Garabedian? Where are the sexual abuse victims advocates? How come these people only know how to get involved when there’s an issue with the Catholic Church, yet they say nothing about other abuse. The hypocricy is astounding.

  29. Bob of Newton says:

    There will never be a way for The Church to recover from this horror story because, as was said previously, “people” within the Church knew of these crimes and did nothing and intelligent people will never forgive those refuals to act in the best interests of the children. Scandal be damned. The facts should have been revealed. Thanks to The Boston Globe, Judges like Constance Sweeney, the lawyers who sued these creeps and, most importantly, the victims who came forward and publicly acknowledged the crimes that were committed. Cardinal Emeritus Law should be in jail!

    • DHO says:

      Bob of Newton, What are your thoughts on those who were wrongfully accused? Should my dear friend, Sr. Priest, be on the same list as the pedophile who baptized my son in 1985? No wonder my kids don’t go to Church!

      • Bob of Newton says:

        Under no conditions should the name of any priest who was wrongfully accused (or against whom a claim was dismissed after a hearing) have been lumped together with those who were correctly accused. The compilation by the Cardinal was a lose/lose situation for him and he was damned if he did name names and damned if he didn’t. I applaud his effort but there must be undertaken an investigation of the supervisors and those boys should have their names made public and be punished. Best regards.

  30. Fr. Bill says:

    A CHAPTER IN MY MINISTRY INCLUDED MINISTRY TO THE ABUSED … THE SCARS ARE FOREVER + MARRIAGES + HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS ARE ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE.
    THESE SUFFERINGS CAN BE CYCLIC IF THEY GO UNTREATED …
    I FEAR THAT THE SITUATION HAS GOTTEN WORSE BECAUSE PEOPLE WHO WOULD REACH OUT FEAR LEGAL ENTANGLEMENT AND FRIVILOUS ACCUSATION …

    CONSEQUENTLY THE ABUSED MAY BE WORSE OFF !!

  31. Fr. Bill says:

    BOB OF NEWTON
    PLEASE PRAY FOR THE BOSTON CLERGY … MOST SUFFER PTSD AND ARE AFRAID TO MAKE WAVES FOR FEAR OF RCAB RETALIATION !

  32. Bob of Newton says:

    Father – Please lose the caps!

    I will only pray that the Boston Clergy has the courage to do what is right for themselves in light of what they perceive as injustices visited upon them by the RCAB. The laity will only help if the Clergy makes the injustices known. BTW, the RCAB will not retaliate because there are so few clergy around any more and, even if they do, what can they do? Give the parties lousy assignments, less money, no pension, no power to speak or all of the above? Well, Father, that’s what you have now so what do you have to lose?

    • Fr. Bill says:

      SORRY FOR THE CAPS … MY EYE SIGHT IS DIABETICALLY CHALLANGED … PLEASE DEAL WITH IT … I DO …

      I AGREE WITH YOU ! HOWEVER IT APPEARS MOST CLERGY REMAIN LONE RANGERS AND REFUSE THE TEAM APPROACH ????

  33. priest says:

    RCAB and SNAP have created a new religion. It is the religion of “being a victim of clergy sexual abuse.” In this new religion, man must define himself according to the evil that was done to him in the brief course of his life. This evil becomes his indelible mark of which he must give witness throughout his life. Everyone must know about this indelible mark. He must preach always about this identity of his.

    The “church” of this new religion has the primary mission of pointing out this specific evil. In this way, this “church” hands the victory to the evildoers who committed these horrific crimes: the victim, since he defines himself according to this evil done to him, never finds healing. He can’t. SNAP won’t let him, and RCAB won’t let him.

    RCAB will never mandate that every parish implement the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Sacramentum Caritatis, Summorum Pontificum, Ecclesia in America, or a comprehensive plan for New Evangelization. RCAB will never investigate its priests for heresy, apostasy, liturgical abuse, or even profanation of the Blessed Sacrament. And yet, RCAB will demand that every parish devote its limited resources to this new “religion” by implementing child abuse prevention programs which, as far as we can tell, are still in gross violation of essential Catholic Church teaching.

    In this way, RCAB is serving the devil, the “accuser of the brethren.” The fruits are already evident: priests don’t trust RCAB; RCAB manifests clearly that it doesn’t trust any one of its priests by its yearly demand that they fill out CORI forms; priestly fraternity is nonexistent, since the only purpose of priestly life now is the eradication of child abuse (this can’t bring about priestly fraternity because it has nothing to do with the spirituality of the priesthood – of which the only purpose is redemption in Jesus). It would be better for RCAB to implement the Ecclesial vision of the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. This would require RCAB to believe in and practice authentic “Communio.”

    This corruption within the Church in Boston won’t last much longer, if they keep it up. RCAB will destroy itself in abandoning its true mission. The irony behind this is that the “victims” of abuse are being denied true healing because RCAB is telling them that their abuse must define them always. The other irony is that this abandoning of the true mission is what led to this crisis in the first place. Albert Einstein once suggested that we cannot solve a problem with the same kind of thinking that caused the problem.

    It is to be hoped that RCAB has been deceived into devoting its dwindling resources to this new and false religion. Whether RCAB is devoted to this by weakness or malice doesn’t really matter: RCAB is doomed to collapse and fall if it doesn’t change course and do so quickly and completely.

  34. Bob of Newton says:

    Thank you for such a terrific post!

  35. Dr. STL says:

    Are you aware of the expense involved in pursuing a civil and/or canonical trial against an allegation of abuse? Many priests in O’Malley;s category B (voluntary laicization) took this course because the time and expense of clearing their name was not possible in practice.

  36. Fr. Bill says:

    DEAR STL

    AFTER 40 YEARS OF MINISTRY I HAVE WITNESSED THE IMPOSSIBLE BECOME POSSIBLE ACCORDING TO ‘HIS WILL’ …

    DEUS PROVEDEIBIT !

    WE WILL TRY …

    PRAY FOR US ALL!

  37. Fr. Bill says:

    IF IT IS GOD’S WILL … IT SHALL BE DONE!

    HAVE FAITH DEAR DOCTOR !

  38. Fr. Bill says:

    LAST CATHOLIC …
    I AM IN ABSOLUTE AGREEMENT !!!
    I HAVE NEVER SEEN THE GIFT OF HOLY ORDERS AS A JOB OR CAREER !!
    AS PRIESTS WE ARE PRIVILEGED TO SHARE IN THE ONE PRIESTHOOD OF JESUS AND IN THE SAME HE WAS BOTH VICTIM + PRIEST … HOWEVER, WE MUST CALL OUT THE TRUTH TO ALL IN ERROR INCLUDING OUR SO CALLED SUPERIORS.
    EVEN WITH THE SUFFERING OF THE LAST 11 YEARS I WOULD SEEK HOLY ORDERS ONCE AGAIN !
    THE HOLY FATHER + HIS BISHOPS MUST REMEMBER IT IS SACERDOS IN AETERNAM! !!!!

  39. Fr. Bill says:

    TOMORROW BRINGS THE MEMORIAL OF THE BEHEADING OF JESUS’ COUSIN, JOHN THE BAPTIST … HE SUFFERED THE LUSTUL AND GREEDY!

    SEEMS WE HAVEN’T COME FAR ,,, CIVIL + RELIGIOUS LEADERS SEEM TRAPPED IN THIS VICIOUS CIRCLE OF PRIDE AND SELF-AGRANDIZEMENT !

    MONDAY AS I PRAY THE MASS, MY HEART IS BOTH FULL AND HEAVY FOR US ALL … JOIN ME IN PRAYER FROM WHEREVER YOU ARE AND TOGETHER LET US IFT UP ALL IN OUR IMPERFECT CHURCH.

  40. Fr. Bill says:

    I APOLOGIZE FOR MY VERBOSITY … I SHALL REFRAIN FROM ANYTHING FURTHER … I WISH YOU ALL A PEACEFUL SLEEP PERHAPS WITH DIVINE INSPIRATION !

    • Mack says:

      Thanks, Fr Bill. Please pray for us all at Mass; I pray for you too!–and for all priests, especially those who are suffering right now as you point out.

      • Fr. Bill says:

        Mack:
        YOU, ALL BCI CONTRIBUTORS AS WELL AS ALL THOSE WHO LOVE THE CHURCH OF BOSTON WILL BE WITH ME AT TODAY’S 7:30 AM MASS … MAY THE LORD LEAD US AND GRANT US THE GRACE OF DICERNMENT WITH THE COURAGE TO FOLLOW HIS LEAD.

  41. Gabriel Austin says:

    Bob of Newton says: August 28, 2011 at 4:41 pm
    “Under no conditions should the name of any priest who was wrongfully accused (or against whom a claim was dismissed after a hearing) have been lumped together with those who were correctly accused. The compilation by the Cardinal was a lose/lose situation for him and he was damned if he did name names and damned if he didn’t. I applaud his effort but there must be undertaken an investigation of the supervisors and those boys should have their names made public and be punished”.

    Which is the reason to adopt Bishop Bruskesitz’s method. On receiving a complaint, call the cops. This will introduce the judiciary, with all its protections against false accusations. And make false accusers think twice.

  42. bostonmwm says:

    The Archdiocese is managed by the insurance companies and the press. Decisions made at the Chancery are always made with those two groups as the primary focus, not priests, not laity. Follow the money.

  43. The comments have begun to drift sufficiently far off-topic that we are closing comments on this post.

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