Church Documents Made Public, Reveal “Truly Horrible” Details

Following a Superior Court order issued last week, the Boston Archdiocese on Tuesday publicly released over 2,000 of 11,000 internal documents detailing an undeniable, chronic problem with priest pedophilia over the last three decades. The files reveal a disturbing pattern of prioritizing the church’s reputation over the protection and safety of those vulnerable to priest pedophilia.

One particular case involved Rev. Robert Meffan, who told the Boston Globe his physical and sexual relationships with teenage girls aspiring to become nuns were “beautiful” and “spiritual,” because “[w]hat I was trying to show them is that Christ is human and you should love him as a human beingÉ that by having this little bit of intimacy with them that this is what it would be like with Christ.” For years, the archdiocese ignored complaints regarding Meffan; Cardinal Bernard Law continued to reassign him during the 1980’s. In 1996, Law wrote to the retired Meffan, “It is important that all of us be reminded of the pain endured by those who have been accused,” according to CNN. Archdiocese spokeswoman Donna M. Morrissey admitted, “Some of the information contained in those documents is truly horrible,” but she pledged, “We’re committed to helping any and all survivors,” reported the Associated Press. Still, just last week the church attempted yet again to save face requesting that the documents be held from public view until January. Suffolk Superior Court Judge Constance M. Sweeney responded angrily, “While the defendants have seemingly produced the documents to opposing counsel at the last minute and under a warning of sanctions and contempt, they still resist public disclosure of those documents The court simply will not be toyed with,” reported the Associated Press.

While Law has yet to comment on the documents’ release, area Catholics are growing increasingly impatient. Thomas O’Neill, son of former speaker of the House Tip O’Neill told CNN, “You know, I and my family have been around politics for a long timeÉ And I think we’ve seen arrogance at every level, in every size. But frankly, this takes the cake.”

Additional documents are set for release on December 13, according to CNN.


Associated Press 12/4/02; Boston Globe 12/4/02; CNN.com 12/4/02; Feminist Daily News Wire

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