Back to Boston.com homepage Arts | Entertainment Boston Globe Online Cars.com BostonWorks Real Estate Boston.com Sports digitalMass Travel The Boston Globe Spotlight Investigation Boston.com Abuse in the Catholic Church
HomePredator priestsScandal and coverupThe victimsThe financial costOpinion
Cardinal Law and the laityThe church's responseThe clergyInvestigations and lawsuits
Interactive2002 scandal overviewParish mapExtrasArchivesDocumentsAbout this site
 Latest coverage

December 28
Hudson fill-in priest welcomed

August 18
Contrasts in O'Malley's area

July 31
'Good priests' moved to tears

July 21
O'Malley seeks prayers in Fla.

July 13
Residence may indicate style

July 6
O'Malley reflects a change

July 3
Bishop cares for immigrants

June 6
Support for same-sex unions

June 5
Priest claims unfair dismissal

May 25
Amid decline, 9 are ordained

May 19
Pastor pushes social services

May 17
Audit noted expense accounts

May 15
Priest who spoke out resigns

April 16
Lennon appeals to priests

March 19
Priest tells parish he's 'sinned'

Earlier stories

Search for:
Time period:

Spotlight Report

The Clergy

     Even for priests not accused of sexual abuse, it has been a difficult year in the Boston Archdiocese. Clergy faced the anger of parishioners, the shame of association with pedophile priests, and concern over false accusations. Morale plummeted as the scandal widened, though many priests were reluctant to openly criticize their archbishop, Cardinal Bernard F. Law, or the church hierarchy.

     Some of the more than 20 priests removed from service over the course of the year complained that they were not given due process by the archdiocese. One priest, Monsignor Michael Smith Foster, was suspended twice before the church determined abuse allegations against him were unfounded. Upon his return, Smith expressed disappointment with church leaders. A group called the Boston Priests Forum representing about 250 of the archdiocese's 900 priests organized to fight for the rights of clergy.

     After damaging new revelations of deviant behavior in the church surfaced in December 2002, 58 priests drafted a letter to Cardinal Law demanding the archbishop's resignation. This act of defiance against a leader to whom priests had sworn obedience resonated loudly.

     With Law now gone, a saddened priesthood continues to tend its wounded flock.

See the story list to the left for the latest coverage of priests' reactions to the crisis.


Monsignor Michael Smith Foster is interviewed following his reinstatement by the archdiocese. (Globe Staff Photo / George Rizer)


The Rev. Bernard McLaughlin of St. Gerard Majella Church in Canton has sought more power for the laity.
(Globe Staff Photo / Suzanne Kreiter)


Interactive map

In-depth
Rev. Edward McDonagh Accused priests are vindicated
Since the clergy abuse scandal broke in January 2002, three priests have been exonerated by the archdiocese after being suspended from duty over allegations of sexual abuse.

Special reports
Christopher Schiavone Homosexuality and the church
The clergy abuse scandal has prompted frank discussion of homosexuality among priests and parishioners, a topic that has traditionally been taboo within the Catholic Church.

Parish at the crossroads Priest seeks more power for the laity
Rev. Bernard McLaughlin of St. Gerard Majella Church in Canton was nurtured by traditions, but has emerged as a voice for the laity.   Images of St. Gerard's parish

Illustration / Jon Krause Should celibacy be reconsidered?
In the wake of the clergy abuse scandal, some theologians have argued that the church's policy on celibacy fosters sexual dysfunction and abusive behavior among priests.


© Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company
Advertise | Contact us | Privacy policy