Letter from Margaret Gallant to Cardinal Medeiros | Typewritten version

August 1[0], 1982

Transcribed by the Boston Globe

Margaret Gallant complains in a four-page handwritten letter to Cardinal Medeiros that her family's claims that Geoghan molested seven boys in her extended family have been ignored. She demands that Geoghan be removed and denounces a suggestion that she keep silent.

[See the main article Church allowed abuse by priest for years. See also the handwritten original of Gallant's letter and the reply by Cardinal Medeiros. At the beginning of her letter, Gallant refers to a meeting with Bishop Thomas V. Daily, whose own report of that 7/24/82 meeting is in the files.]

August 1[0], 1982
Dear Eminence,

As you know, our family had a conference with Bishop Daly over two weeks ago. Since that priest is still in his parish, it appears that no action has been taken. Am I to assume now that we were patronized?

Our family is deeply rooted in the Catholic Church, our great-grandparents and parents suffered hardship and persecution for love of the Church. Our desire is to protect the dignity of the Holy Orders, even in the midst of our tears and agony over the seven boys in our family who have been violated. We cannot undo that, but we are obligated to protect others from this abuse to the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ.

It was suggested that we keep silent to protect the boys -- that is absurd since minors are protected under law, and I do not wish to hear that remark again, since it is insulting to our intelligence.

I have a tremendous love and respect for you Cardinal, and regret now for not writing to...(at this point in letter, part of text is cut off)...humility and holiness, but I am very angry with you now, and do not understand this.

While it is true that a layman in the same situation would only be confined for observation for a limited time -- he would also be exposed (word "exposed" is underlined twice). Parents would know then not to allow children near this type person. In this case, not only do they not know, but by virtue of his office he gains access quite easily, which compounds our responsibility! His actions are not only destructive to the emotional well-being of the children, but hits the very core of our being in our love for the church -- he would not gain access to homes of fallen away Catholics.

Regardless of what he says, or the doctor who treated him, I do not believe he is cured; his actions strongly suggest that he is not, and there is no guarantee that persons with these obsessions are ever cured.

Truly, my heart aches for him and I pray for him, because I know this must tear him apart too; but I cannot allow my compassion for him to cloud my judgment on acting for the people of God, and the children in the church.

My own children were not directly...(at this point in letter, part of text is cut off)...sensitive to my nephews and grandnephews who were involved; I am far enough removed to be slightly more objective. I have not told my sister or my niece that that priest is still functioning -- I fear the consequences of telling them. I have told my brother, and he and I will take this case to the Holy Father if need be.

We did not question the Authority of the Church two years ago, but left it entirely in your hands. Now, we will not settle for this, but must insist on knowing what action is taken -- where he is sent, etc. I will not allow this Temple of God to be overshadowed by a sin of omission. We, our family and all of us who look to the Authority of the Church -- (word illegible) the Church -- and have the right to expect service from the Ordained.

My two sisters and my niece never as much as received an apology from the church, much less any offer for counseling for the boys. It embarrasses me that the Church is so negligent.

Father Damien the leper went after a child molester once and beat him up. His cause was held up because of it. Now the curse of Damien is in the Vatican. I am praying to him now to bring this cause to Jesus Christ. Father Damien would not sit on his fanny -- he would act.

My heart is broken over this whole mess -- and to address my Cardinal in this manner has taken its toll on me too. May Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit have mercy on all of us.

Margaret Gallant


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