Tuesday, April 09, 2002

Well, Boston has managed once again to make itself the center of a national scandal; our archdiocese has been caught having shuffled yet another priest from parish to parish despite repeated allegations of sexual abuse, some of which were settled with cash and the broken promise that the guy would never prey on children again. The difference this time is that Cardinal Law was personally involved in shielding Paul Shanley, despite having been personally informed of medical evaluations saying that he was "sick", and despite public speeches from Shanley himself which offered support and praise for sexual relations between children, particularly boys, and men.

The response from the archdiocese was a four-page statement from a PR person, which acknowledged that "policies and procedures of the past" were "inadequate", but made no specific mention at all of the disclosures concerning Shanley, and stressed that "Whatever may have occurred in the past, there were no deliberate decisions to put children at risk." (Gee, does that mean you're conceding depraved indifference?) That came from a PR flack --- Cardinal Law, who called down the wrath of God on the media for having the effrontery to actually cover the story of an earlier scandal, has long since stopped talking to them, and since the current round of scandals broke, he's also stopped taking questions from parishoners after Mass.

And yet, the international church still can't seem to take the problem seriously; it sees the problem as evidence of some sort of peculiar hang-up that Americans have about sex (or perhaps English-speakers generally, given the troubles of the church in Ireland), since the Catholic church itself, of course, has no sexual hangups of its own; at a recent press conference, one European cardinal described it as "an X-ray of the problem" that most of the questions on it were in English.

And the hierarchy don't want to bother themselves with the parochial concerns of Americans or anglophones, since they see the future of their church not in the anglosphere, but rather in Africa and Latin America, where the problems of the church are altogether different. There, the priests are accused of raping nuns.


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