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Nothing forgotten, nothing learned

By Diogenes (articles ) | Dec 01, 2003

The Boston Globe is running a three-part series on the prison career of the Archdiocesan pedophile priest John Geoghan -- a career that ended with his murder by another inmate.

The Globe seems to want to shock us with a new scandal, centering on Geoghan's mistreatment, but the protagonist doesn't fill the role for which he was cast. As a prisoner, Geoghan comes across as perfectly in character: peevishly jealous of his own rights and privileges, incapable of remorse, a man by turns cowardly and full of bluster depending on circumstances. His notoriety earned him abuse from guards and fellow inmates, some of it gratuitously harsh, but little -- short of his murder -- that an unpopular boy wouldn't experience in high school.

The really painful part of the story concerns Geoghan's elder sister Catherine, and Geoghan's heartlessness and utter disregard for others is nowhere more evident than in his continuing to maintain his innocence to her so as to prey on her susceptibilities and keep her in emotional servitude. Her loyalty to her brother is touching, and it is impossible to imagine that she would have deserted him had he confessed the truth to her; but it adds a final bitterness to this tragic story, in which the good will of so many good people was sacrificed to the tactically expedient lie.

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