Monday, March 17, 2003

I haven't blogged much about the sexual-abuse scandals recently because,'s the same old story, told too many times, and while there is much to pray about, every single day, there's not much new for me to say about any of it. I trust that those of you who are interested - and I hope all Catholics are, not out of prurience, but because it involves your brothers and sisters in Christ, and your Church's credibility in its fundamental task of sharing the Good News - I hope that you're keeping up with the news through Poynter, which never fails to have fewer than ten stories from around the country. Something's always about to explode somewhere: In New Hampshire where a parish has just stopped sending money to the diocese and the details of the Roland Cote saga have been made public

In California, where the pressure is building on Mahony

In Massachusetts, where, among other things, a family determines to take its abuse complaints right to the pope

And in Alabama where Bishop Lipscomb of Mobile removed a priest from a parish after a fourth allegation of abuse surfaced. There had been three previous allegations, and Lipscomb, an opponent of zero-tolerance and a supporter of Cardinal Law, had trust the priest to psychiatrists. But with this most recent allegation:

Lipscomb said he had known of three victims, which Sherlock had admitted, for some time. "Last week, it came to my attention, as a fourth and credible allegation surfaced, that Father Sherlock had not been truthful in the full disclosure of his abusive activity," he said. "Though this last case was not current, it could not be characterized as long past." .....

In December, after Boston's Cardinal Bernard Francis Law resigned, Lipscomb said Law was guilty of no personal wrongdoings and was a victim of "the media campaign against him." Lipscomb said Law had followed a long-standing church practice of relying on psychologists and psychiatrists, who assured the Catholic hierarchy that priests exhibiting such behavior could be treated and returned to the ministry.

By contrast, Sherlock
[the priest in question] was quoted as saying Law made the right decision. "I'm glad he (Law) resigned... He should have done it months ago," Sherlock told the Montgomery Advertiser. " It's sad on one hand because he (Law) has worked very hard all of his life, but I think that the Archdiocese of Boston served him poorly and the church poorly in the way it handled many of these cases," Sherlock said. "He's a man who worked hard, and he trusted a lot of people under him that he shouldn't have trusted."

In the Advertiser story, Sherlock described the church's crisis as a "dark night of the soul."

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