Law's resignation and sorry legacy
: We got what we asked for
. And now what? The church is still in turmoil. It still teeters on the edge of moral and financial bankruptcy. Its victims are still in pain. Its highest leaders -- and now its ex-highest leader -- still face likely charges of a criminal cover up. Cardinal Law resigned this morning, but he’s left a monumental, historic mess in his wake. His greatest legacy to the Archdiocese of Boston and American Catholicism in general? He and his fellow bishops and cardinals have allowed a rupture to occur within the American church, a rupture that could have been avoided had they acted with genuine concern and responsibility for, of all people, innocent children within their parishes. They didn’t act with genuine concern and responsibility for innocent children. Instead, their genuine concern and responsibility was, first and foremost, directed at preserving and protecting their own power. This is the main lesson many take from the sex-abuse scandal in Boston and elsewhere: When push came to shove, the Catholic church’s leadership didn’t choose to protect the meek and powerless, they chose to side with and protect the powerful. Never again will Boston Catholics fully trust their church, even though many Catholics understandably yearn and hope things will “return to normal.” But it won’t happen. The new “normality” is this: From now on, many parents, if they choose to stay in the church (and the vast majority will choose to do so), will continue to tell their children to believe in God and Jesus, they’ll continue to snap pictures and recall fond memories on the day their children go through their own First Communion, on the day their children have their own wedding ceremonies, on the day their own children have their children baptized into the church. The traditions and mysteries of the Catholic church will live on. But most parents will henceforth whisper dark warnings to their children: ‘Don’t trust the priests and bishops too much. ... Don’t stay alone with them. ... They’re not always going to be on our side.” And this cynicism will be passed down from generation to generation. This is Cardinal Law’s legacy.
Here are some updates:
-- The below mentioned dope might want to listen to the words of the Rev. Edward Vacek, a local priest, who was also just interviewed on NECN. Father Vacek called the resignation "a relief" but "much, much work" still needs to be done to "bring back" the faithful. Asked point blank about Voice of the Faithful's call for more openness in the church, Vacek gave an interesting explanation about how the church, before major changes in the 1800s, used to give much more power to lay people to select their own bishops and leaders. Perhaps that "shift" in power of the 1800s "needs to be, if you will" shifted back again towards the people, Vacek said. But, hey, what does a priest know? He's probably one of those secular Cafeteria Catholics and secret card-carrying member of the Voice of the Faithful.
-- Some dope (didn't catch his name but he was with some lay group) was just interviewed on NECN and accused Voice of the Faithful of not following the "moral teachings" of the church. And he said such "Cafeteria Catholicism" is the root cause, along with the "secular society" it creates, for the sex-abuse scandal. I am not making this up. Yep, Voice of the Faithful and Cafeteria Catholics caused this. Sure. Yeah. Right. Learn something each and every day.
-- Ted Kennedy just spoke of the resignation as the "beginning of a long process of healing" and said it's time to take a "different kind" of approach towards "responsibility" and "accountability" within the church. Good for Ted.
-- Clark Booth, one of the greatest and wisest reporters in Boston, was just interviewed on Channel 5, via phone from the Vatican, and he's (typically) putting this all into historical perspective. He's comparing today's 'earthquake within the system' to convulsions the church must periodically go through every few hundred years in order to purify itself. "Gradually, it's becoming clear these are one of those moments," he said. He's even comparing the current convulsions to events of the Reformation.
Update -- 10:25 a.m.
-- Coverage of Cardinal Law's resignation is being carried live on Boston television stations. ... An attorney for the alleged sex-abuse victims says he soon intends to file more lawsuits, scores of them, involving 30 priests dating back to 1960. About half of the lawsuits will involve priests who currently don't have suits filed against them, he said. ... The victims who are appearing at various press conferences are so poised, so articulate, so controlled in their rage. They're not going to give up. They look and sound so empty and drained but determined. One was asked if he can forgive Cardinal Law, and he just shook his head in a dazed way, shrugged his shoulders, raised his eyebrows and slowly said forgiving the cardinal is not one of his priorities right now. ... Incredible.