My humble opinion on
February 4, 2002
Those Crazy Priests
The Catholic Church had a bad, bad
week. A lousy few weeks, actually.
It started in Boston, where archbishop
Bernard Law admitted he kept a priest, Father John Geoghan, at work
while knowing of several allegations of child sexual abuse against the
now-former priest. Law transferred him from parish to parish rather than
defrock the monster. Geoghan has since been convicted of abuse in one
trial and faces more charges later this month.
It should go without saying, but Law
should resign. Naturally, he doesn't agree. "My resignation is not
part of the solution as I see it." The archbishop fails to realize
he was part of the problem when he reassigned Geoghan in 1984, knowing
he was a molester and subjecting further innocent children to abuse. His
departure would remove some of the problem.
Not only that, but the man's a liar.
He wrote in a magazine he had no idea Geoghan was a molester. But court
records unsealed afterward showed he knew all about Geoghan's obscene
fondness for kids.
Here's the history. Geoghan received
complaints of sexually abusing kids as far back as the 1960s. Parents of
victims informed other priests of the crimes, which allegedly included
oral and anal rape, but Geoghan was moved to St. Andrew's in 1974, where
he admitted to molesting seven boys.
Geoghan received counseling, and in
1981 was assigned to St. Brendan's. The church, appallingly, was not
warned of his past. Not surprisingly, more allegations arose, and in
1984, Law took over as archbishop and transferred Geoghan to St.
Julia's, assigning the child molester to run youth programs, knowing his
past history of child molestation.
Geoghan underwent more therapy after
additional complaints in 1989, so Law put him back to work for three
more years. In total, Geoghan has faced 130 reports of child sex abuse
since the 1960s, and thirty came under Law's supervision. The Boston
diocese has paid $10 million (so far) to settle just a few of the
lawsuits stemming from Geoghan's molestations.
But Geoghan wasn't the only one.
According to the Boston Globe, Law "in the last 10 years has
quietly settled child molestation claims against at least 70
priests." Nineteen present and former priests are accused
pedophiles and four have been convicted. Two others face charges.
As bad as that is, it isn't limited to
Boston. Reported the Associated Press, "The Roman Catholic Diocese
of Tucson announced a settlement... with plaintiffs in a civil lawsuit
that alleged four diocese priests had sexually molested children."
There were sixteen plaintiffs and eleven lawsuits. Terms remained
private, but the diocese apologized to the victims. The archdiocese,
headed by Cardinal Roger Mahony, was also named in the suit.
Mahony is no stranger to sex abuse
cases. According to Steve Lopez, a columnist for the L.A. Times,
the "Diocese of Stockton was ordered to pay $30 million - the
largest amount ever per victim - to two brothers who were repeatedly
molested by a priest in the 1980s. The lawsuit alleged that the diocese,
headed by Mahony for part of the time in question, did little to end the
abuse or assist the victims."
In Canada, a priest recently admitted
from the lectern that he had brought in a priest who had been convicted
of sexual abuse, but told no one. And this priest thinks he did the
right thing, and is proud that he did not inform his parishioners. Can
you believe the gall? The arrogance?
This is even happening overseas. The
Catholic Church in Ireland has agreed to pay $110 million for several
Irish kids who were molested by priests, nuns, and other officials. The
church will give the money to the government in return for immunity
against further suits. The money will go into a larger government
compensation fund (much of the abuse occurred at state-funded schools).
Victims said it should be more. With 3,000 to 7,000 potential victims,
the government could pay out as much $430 million, forcing Irish
taxpayers to pay for the sins of church and state.
Also last week, a priest in Florida
confessed to dealing drugs from his church, and another priest in Iowa
was charged with making and distributing the "date-rape drug"
I had assumed that since these
molestation cases broke several years ago, the Church had cracked down
hard on pedophiliac priests. Apparently not. The Church instead has
further covered up the crimes of its priests, quietly settling lawsuits,
retaining molesters, and leaving the Catholic flock in the dark. It's no
wonder so many Catholics have lost faith in the Church's leadership, and
scores of others have lost faith in Christianity. It could even be said
that Bernard Law and his ilk are doing the devil's work, driving
potential and existing believers from the church and God. These leaders
must be held accountable, both in this world and the next.
Pray for Pearl
All people of faith should pray for
Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter kidnapped by an extremist
Islamic terrorist group in Karachi, Pakistan. The faceless cowards
threatened to shoot Pearl if several Muslim terrorists were not released
from jail. After an anonymous email claimed that Pearl had already been
shot, Pakistani police combed graveyards in Karachi but found no body.
Now no one knows Pearl's fate, and seemingly has no idea where he is
In my Weekly Muse posted on January
21, I mentioned a clothing company that released a line called Fidel,
which incorporated elements of the Cuban flag. I implied this was a
tribute to Fidel Castro. I recently learned that the line is actually
named after its designer, Fidel Ramos. My apologies to all involved.