Wednesday, December 18, 2002

The Boston Catholic Crisis

The past week's news was dominated by the church scandal. Since I live in Greater Boston, the center of the controversy, it's the lead news. Cardinal Bernard Law's trip to the Vatican last week was closely watched. Of course, it has come to an end for him. Bishop Richard Lennon has been assigned to the Diocese of Boston as the apostolic administrator, until the Pope appoints a new archbishop.

Over the past months leading up to the past week, I have quietly accepted the difficulties of the Catholic church in Boston. As a practicing Catholic, I was just hoping it would all "work out." While others sought to join groups to make changes, I quietly attended mass. When I read last week that Fr. Francis Daley, the pastor of my church, was one of 58 Boston priests who signed the letter asking Law to resign, I rethought the issues again.

At Sunday mass last week, the Eucharistic Prayer was amended: Bishop Lennon's name was used in place of Cardinal Law's name. The changes are occurring. Today, the Vatican approved the sex-abuse policy proposed by the Bishops of the United States. The changes are slowly happening.

I believe it will be many years, perhaps a whole generation or two before the scandal recedes in memory. So much has been hidden for so long. I have commented earlier that Cardinal Law shouldn't step down, but after months of assault from the media, from the faithful, from the priesthood, and from the many disparate groups who have disavowed him, I'm beginning to think that perhaps his leaving will start the healing process. His leaving will allow the church "to move forward." At least I hope so.

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