Sexual Abuse In the Catholic Church

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The Catholic Church is right now struggling with a very serious and grave scandal, Sexual Abuse of catholic priests and Paedophilia. Within the last year the Catholic Church has had to dispense over 100 million dollars in sexual abuse settlements*** (find source). However, the crisis became mainstream when two Catholic priests in Boston were accused of abusing over 100 boys and young men. The church worldwide has felt repercussions from this scandal. In fact, it even resulted in the call of all American cardinals who are healthy enough to travel to a summit in the Vatican with Pope John Paul the second. There are several issues at play as this scandal continues. In this paper I hope to look at the actual scandals involving retired priest Paul Shanley and defrocked priest John Geoghan. These two men served as priests in the Boston community for over 20 years under the leadership of three different Cardinals. Throughout their years of service they had sexual relationships with males ranging from the age of 4 to 26. Only within the past year were legal steps taken against them. John Geoghan was tried and convicted and Paul Shanley’s case is still under investigation. In the Catholic Church, priests are the moral authority. When one has questions with his faith he is taught that he can go to his priest for informed answers. In this paper I also hope to deal with how these priests failed their flock. They took advantage of men who came to them for help when in trouble and preyed on the little boys who came to the church for guidance. In addition to the tacit feeling that as a priest they will only do what is right, these men told their victims that they would deal with the moral implications. I also hope to look at the role of the Cardinals in this whole affair. The Catholic Church teaches that these men are responsible for the priests under their care, as well as the people. Fathers Geoghan and Shanley served under three Boston Cardinals and they were still allowed to continue preying on the people in their parish. The people of the church depend on their Cardinals to keep the archdiocese in order, and these men failed the people they are supposed to guide. The question then arises: how much responsibility should these Cardinals take. In order to answer that question I shall look at Cardinal Bernard Law.

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