Catholic church: Abuse by priests is a men's problem
July 3, 2008 · Updated 9:38 PM
Cardinal Law resigned Dec. 16. The allegations of abuse were first disclosed in November 2001. He resigned 11 months too late. He waited until the Boston Archdiocese was ordered to give their records to the Court, which further incriminated him. Also, the courage of the 58 Boston priests, who broke ranks and asked for his resignation, was more than he, or the Vatican, could ignore. The many survivors who came forward, with all the risks involved, deserve the utmost recognition and praise. Their actions enabled others to come forward, which is so critical in their healing process. Their lives were severely damaged by men who were in positions of the highest authority. One doesnt need to be a Catholic to know how much power priests have over parishioners, particularly children.
In his resignation speech, Cardinal Law stated that he waited this long to resign because he wanted to help resolve the crises. What he failed to understand was that the survivors, who were demanding his resignation, did so because of his collusion. The archdioceses records show clearly that he knowingly covered up these horrific abuses, even showing sympathy for the priests.
I am writing because this is a mens issue. Men in positions of the highest authority and power far too often sexually assault children and young people. These men are clergy, doctors, lawyers, teachers, counselors, coaches, etc. We live in an era where it is a little more safe for survivors of abuse to come forward and disclose the abuse. Hopefully, men in power who abuse will take note of this, and recognize that their reputations and careers will be ruined, and they need to seek professional help. It is our responsibility as men to protect our young ones by speaking out against these abuses and supporting survivors when they take the critical step by naming their abusers.
Cardinal Law asks for forgiveness. This is a decision that only the victims, that he so wrongly colluded against, can make. His collusion was at the same level of abuse as the abusing priests, since if he had used his power to stop the abuse, the pain and suffering of survivors would not have occurred. It is my hope for Cardinal Law that he understand what he needs to do for himself is to accept full responsibility for his actions. However, I dont think he has touched the surface. I think what he needs is a community of men, who truly understand his collusion, and would help and guide him . This is why I think this is a mens issue. If he were able to to fully accept responsibility, this would be more healing for him then receiving forgiveness.
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