Click here to advertise on

"Now this will probably sting a little bit..."

By Diogenes (articles ) | Nov 12, 2003

The bishops are already jittery about next February's release of a report by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice cataloging sexual abuse cases since 1950:

"This is going to be devastating, from what I'm hearing on the inside,'' said Bishop Raymond J. Boland of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph. "People will look at these raw statistics and say, 'This is a large number.' But I'm hoping we can say, 'OK, if they're large and damning in many ways, how do they compare to the country at large?'"

Bishop Boland is the man who, three years ago, told the Kansas City Star's Judy Thomas:

"I would never ask a priest how he got [AIDS], just like nobody asked me two years ago how I got cancer of the colon. But I would provide for him. I would not write him off and say, 'Because you've got AIDS and because there are doubts about how one can acquire it, therefore you're not a good priest.'"

A bishop who consciously binds himself to the pretense that an AIDS-infected clergyman has been a good priest obviously does not want to know the truth of the matter. And he doesn't want to know the truth of the matter because he is terrified of having to act on the truth. Boland's concern for a sick man is laudable, but it comes at no cost to his popularity. Squaring up to the problem of predatory gays -- networked who knows how deeply into the episcopacy as well as the presbyterate -- would take real guts. Better to make nice noises about non-judgmental health care.

His anticipatory spin on the John Jay report is very much in character and very discouraging. A man who had started to tackle the problem would say, "Well, if the appalling discoveries we made in my diocese are any indication..." But he doesn't. Instead Boland refers to murmurings "on the inside," which shows his head is still planted firmly in the sand. At least he was kind enough to preview next March's smoke-screen for us: "Put in its true perspective, the incidence of child rape and deviant sexual assault among Catholic priests is no higher than it is among welders, tractor mechanics, and taffy-apple vendors -- clear evidence of the workings of sanctifying grace in the Sacrament of Orders!"

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Our Fall Campaign
Progress toward our year-end goal ($27,707 to go):
$150,000.00 $122,292.96
18% 82%
Sound Off! supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 1 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: - Nov. 13, 2003 11:17 AM ET USA

    Bishop Boland, In his fear of what the John Jay report will reveal is sad because if the Bishops (church leaders) would have done what they should have done, acted when they should have, and protected the flock from a questionable shepherd. This is not as if the questionable shepherd had gone to confession to the bishop. For gods sake think of the flock instead of your selves. Cotton

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on

Recent Catholic Commentary

Another side of Francis: US-Cuba role shows Pope's diplomatic muscle 8 hours ago
Silly season: a Christmas approaches, a scholar questions whether Jesus ever existed 8 hours ago
The intrinsic immorality of torture: still not convinced? 13 hours ago
The Complexity of Reforming Religious Communities December 17
Speaking Softly to Women Religious December 16

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope Francis: Europe seems 'elderly and haggard' CWN - November 25
Pope Francis, Ecumenical Patriarch sign joint declaration, lament persecution of Christians CWN - December 1
Consistory for new cardinals scheduled for February CWN - December 11
Vatican report on US women religious calls for further self-assessment CWN - December 16
Pope brokered deal to open US-Cuba ties CWN - December 17