February 12, 2005

New mindset is necessary for Catholics

The Times Herald


These have to be tough times for American Catholics.

The church many have known their entire lives, the church they love, the church that plays a major spiritual role in their daily lives, remains in trouble.

Its spiritual leader, the beloved Pope John Paul II, has been fighting for his life in a Rome hospital. When you are 84 and have other chronic health problems, you do not come down with "just the flu."

While American Catholics, and many Protestants as well, pray for the pope, they also must be wondering about the future of the U.S. Catholic Church.

They were reminded last week of the clergy sex-abuse scandal that has rocked the American church since it broke into the open three years ago. A jury in Cambridge, Mass, convicted defrocked priest Paul Shanley of raping and fondling a boy at his church in the 1980s.

Shanley, 74, will be sentenced next week. Any sentence likely will turn into life in prison.

For his victims, the sentence must bring some relief, some closure, some vindication. For the victims of other priests who similarly violated their office, the verdict must bring a sense of hope that they, too, may one day get something amounting to justice.

Posted by kshaw at February 12, 2005 07:54 AM