April 23, 2005

A victim advocate makes a pilgrimage

Boston Globe

By Michael Paulson, Globe Staff | April 23, 2005

ROME -- On Sunday morning, Bill Gately of Plymouth stood in the rain in front of an uncharacteristically bland-looking Catholic church on a narrow, cobblestone street here, handing out leaflets to exiting worshipers.

Inside the church, Gately believed, a group of priests might be sheltering an American cleric who is accused in a lawsuit of sexually abusing minors. Gately, along with other advocates for victims of clergy sexual abuse, wants the religious order to send the priest back to the United States to face his accusers.

Two days earlier, just after stepping off the plane, Gately and two other victim advocates knocked on the doors of two religious orders thought to be home to priests accused of abuse in the United States, then stood at St. Peter's Square and called for a Vatican investigation into another accused cleric. He and two other victim advocates also held a news conference to announce a list of prelates they believed should not become pope because of their remarks about or behavior in the abuse crisis, and they sent a letter to US cardinals complaining about the participation of Boston's former archbishop, Cardinal Bernard F. Law, in a memorial Mass for Pope John Paul II.

But the church's only response, Gately said, was to hustle two victim advocates out of St. Peter's Square; otherwise, they were met with silence, their letters to the cardinals unanswered.

Posted by kshaw at April 23, 2005 07:28 AM