'I say ... my anguish does not end, ever'
By Arthur Austin
Why is it, exactly, that after turning over the names of 80 priests and suspending active pastors and priests from their assignments because of sexual abuse issues, the Archdiocese of Boston suddenly found the demand for the file on Paul Shanley to be an assault on the church's constitutional protections? What is in the medical and psychological reports that they so desperately don't want revealed? Exactly how bad is the filth and corruption they are trying to hide about Shanley? How extensive?
I mean, after all, we live in a world where we know about the nightmare of sexual predation by priests in Louisiana; a world that has already seen James Porter and John Geoghan. What horrors are left to shock us? As one of Shanley's victims, I'll gladly sit down with you over a cup of tea and enlighten you about the answer to that question.
If the Catholic Church in America does not fit the definition of organized crime, then Americans seriously need to examine their concept of justice. Bernard Law and [archdiocese attorney] Wilson Rogers have behaved throughout this catastrophe with a deviousness, cunning, and lack of good intent that crossed long ago into the realm of criminality, however much the ever-elastic niceties of the law may protect them.
But in stooping now to defend, by delay and specious appeals to the court, a walking plague like Paul Shanley, they have lost forever any right to regard themselves as decent men. They are not decent men. They are merely a pride-filled prelate who lusted so shamelessly after the papal tiara that he came to see any form of unbridled and ruthless appetite as acceptable among the ordained; and his equally Machiavellian and surreptitious adviser, deftly guiding him through the spring-traps of potential legal disgrace.
Bernard Law and Wilson Rogers knew of, and countenanced, indeed abetted, the ongoing rape and sexual defilement of children and young men and women, by known sexual predators. There is not a spark of decency or goodness between the two of them. The stains they have on their hands now will never come off...
I say to them today: You and your church have taken 34 years of my life from me, my anguish does not end, ever; like an incubus, Paul Shanley still haunts my dreams. And you Bernard, my cardinal, my prince of the church, my shepherd, my father in Christ, how long have I hungered at your indifferent door for a crumb of compassion, justice, or mercy? Or even a crumb of simple honesty?
You are a liar; your own documents condemn you. You are a criminal, a murderer of children; you degrade the office you hold in the church; you are an affront to Jesus Christ; and I call on Almighty God to bear witness to the foulness and treachery of your behavior, the evil you have nurtured and condoned, and the minds, hearts, and souls you have destroyed. I call on Almighty God to bear witness for those who could no longer shoulder the unbearable cross of their crucified innocence and trust, and took their own lives, because of men like you, the power-brokers of the Roman Catholic Church.
I name you one by one - Bernard Cardinal Law, archbishop of Boston; Wilson Rogers, attorney at law; Paul Shanley, priest - for the evil you are and the evil you've done. I accuse you before God and humanity. May you never prosper from this day on; may all your hopes of peace and happiness wither and die before your eyes, until you have done right by every victim, living or dead; may every grief and terror you have unleashed upon the world come back to each of you a hundred-fold,... until the end of your lives; and may... you be very healthy and live long.
This story ran on page A11 of the Boston Globe on 4/9/2002.
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