Speech at the First Release of Shanley Documents

By Arthur Austin
Sheraton Hotel, Boston
April 8, 2002

[This is the full text, provided by the author, of a speech excerpted in the Boston Globe in their feature on the first release of documents from the Boston archdiocesan personnel file of Rev. Paul R. Shanley.]

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.

Shall I start with the cabin in the Blue Hills?---where he kept me on my knees all night, servicing him in ways that would make you vomit, if I told you? And how, when he was finished with me he told me that I could now call him Paul, I didn't have to say "Father Shanley" anymore? Or should I move right along to the ruined house in Vermont, where, in a rage, he left me, without heat or food for an entire day, in the dead of winter, in the middle of nowhere, to teach me that I must never, ever say No to him when he wanted to use me sexually? Or shall I just start first with the dreams that still wake me in sobbing terror and sick to my stomach?

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 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 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; neither will the stains on their souls.

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, to torment you until the end of your lives; and may each of you be very healthy and live long.

And, Bernard Law, today I am the one calling down "by all means" the wrath of God, on you, to bear witness against the blasphemy you commit every time you dare to lay hands on the Sacrament; and to bear witness to the lives you knowingly, calculatingly and, with a lie in your mouth at every turn, casually allowed to be destroyed.

Lastly, My Prince, Your Eminence, since you seem to have lost Him somewhere, I can tell you where Christ is. He is alive and well and working on Morrisey Boulevard, as an investigative journalist.

Arthur Austin - April 8, 2002 - Copyright


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