Results of a New|
If 94 percent of the ABC poll respondents had enough common sense to know that the archdiocesan policy of merely transferring an accused priest to another parish wasn't enough, why didn't Cardinal Bernard Law, previously one of my favorite contemporary cardinals, know that this was woefully inadequate?
What ever happened to punishing rotten priests by shutting them up in a monastery and throwing the key away? Seriously, Geoghan and other pedophilic priests routinely receive some kind of counseling, along with reassignment, but it is well known that pedophiles tend to be repeat offenders. Sending them to another parish, even if they are placed in a clerical job that doesn't include hearing confessions or other priestly functions that might expose them to young people, isn't enough. The accusations should be referred to the proper legal authorities, and, if proven, the priest should be defrocked. Yes, there is hope for redemption, but this doesn't come with the right to continue to act as a priest. One (proven) strike and you're out--that must be the Church's policy.
The poll didn't ask the one question that has American Catholics taking sides: Should Cardinal Law, a stalwart defender of orthodoxy and of the pope, resign? Law, as a writer for the Wall Street Journal recently noted, egregiously failed to deal with the main thing that the Church was founded to deal with--sin.
Sending somebody to a sex therapist isn't the right way to deal with grave sin. In failing in this, Law failed God's children--and now they're back, all grown up, with lawyers at their sides, demanding millions of dollars in damages. The financial cost for the church has been catastrophic, and there is no end in sight. It's an ugly mess all around. Cardinal Law should submit his resignation to the Holy Father. That way lies true humility for the cardinal, who now looks like an aging bureaucrat desperately clinging to his post.